In an effort to keep minors from drug use and addiction, the DepEd has given the go signal for the nationwide implementation of public high school-based random drug testing. Education Secretary Leonor Briones emphasized that the growing drug problem of the country has no place in the educational setting. “Our purpose is to find the prevalence of this phenomenon and do something about it,” she stated in an interview with the Inquirer.
The plan had previously faced criticisms when it was proposed. Many feared that students could become targets in our country’s current war on drugs. In response, Secretary Briones clarified that this project has nothing to do with the ‘tokhang’ operations of the Philippine National Police. The implementation focuses more on being preventive rather than punitive. Confidentiality in results is assured. Minors who are found to be positive will not be charged or be put on record.
She also stated the parental awareness is still necessary. Parent-teacher conferences will be arranged to provide them with a comprehensive understanding of the program. The school requires their consent before any tests could be performed on their children.
DepEd will implement the program for public high schools. CHED is currently encouraging private higher education institutions to apply this program in their campuses in order to help eradicate drug use from colleges and universities.