Palace backs DepEd’s stand vs. drug testing for elementary studes
MANILA — Malacañang on Monday expressed support to the decision of the Department of Education (DepEd) to oppose the mandatory drug testing of elementary students proposed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones earlier said that mandatory drug testing for elementary students violated the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which authorizes drug testing for secondary and tertiary level students only.
“The Palace will defer to the position of the DepEd. Nagsalita na po si Secretary Briones, ang Dangerous Drugs Act daw po ay ipinagbabawal ang drug testing sa elementarya (DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones has spoken, the Dangerous Drugs Act prohibits drug testing in elementary school),” Roque said in a press briefing in Cagayan de Oro.
“Pupuwede lang tayong magkaroon ng drug testing po sa high school (We can only allow drug testing in high school),” he added.
Roque pointed out that although the Supreme Court in the Philippines has not yet issued a decision on the constitutionality of drug testing, the United States (US) has struck down mandatory drug testing as “unconstitutional” but upheld drug testing that was “random.”
Last week, PDEA proposed drug testing for students grades four and up in public and private schools nationwide, noting that their records showed that the youngest drug user captured was 10 years old.
However, Briones said that the DepEd is not yet convinced that students aged 10 years old should undergo mandatory drug testing.
“Hindi pa kami kumbinsido na 10 years old. Kasi ang 10 years old na exposure namin sa curriculum sa pagturo ng mga bata dapat pag-iingatan natin dito na mae-expose ‘yung mga bata o ‘yung mga learners ‘yung public scrutiny ‘yung kanilang mga identities (We’re not yet convinced that [it should be] 10 years old. We should be careful the children’s or learners’ identities become exposed to public scrutiny),” Briones said in a TV interview.
Briones said tshe will be requesting for a meeting with PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino to study and compare their agencies objectives’ on drug testing. (PNA)