Students at universities, faculties and other higher education institutions (HEIs) will be subject to mandatory random testing of narcotics in the school year 2019-2020.
This was reminiscent of the Chair of the Higher Education Commission (CHED) Prospero de Vera III, as he pointed out that higher education institutions are expected to perform mandatory random drug testing with pupils, with information to parents.
De Vera, in the CHED Memorandum no. 18 series 2018, issued guidelines for the implementation of drug testing in all higher education institutions. According to the guidelines, he noted that "the drug problem in the Philippines continues to be a serious national concern that permeates both the public and private sectors not only as a matter of security, but also as a health concern that affects social, emotional, psychological, as well as economic well-being citizens. "
De Vera stressed that the government recognizes the free roles of public and private higher education institutions and "carries out reasonable supervision and regulation of the same." In view of this, CHED ordered all higher education institutions to "include in their Student Handbook mandatory random testing of narcotics with notification to parents."
In addition to random drug testing, De Vera said that the higher education institution "within the parameters of its institutional academic freedom" also includes in its student manual a policy for mandatory drug testing as a condition for admission and retention, after respecting "consultations and other similar requests ". "In the event that the medication test has yielded positive results, it should not be forbidden to recognize the student / applicant in the absence of a valid reason that such a student / applicant does not recognize on the basis of others that positive findings are the result of a drug test." De Vera said that the fee for testing drugs before the admission "is borne by the student applicant." He or she can also choose to be tested in any DOH accredited facility for medicines or in an authorized HEI facility, if any.
De Vera said that CHED, as part of its mandate, "is obliged to continuously monitor the effectiveness of narcotics abuse programs through its regional / field offices" and may "request the assistance of any government agency or instrument to carry out program objectives."
Higher education institutions, De Vera said, will have mechanisms to "promote a healthy lifestyle, such as, but not limited to, healthy eating, physical activity and smoking and alcoholic drinks at and outside the school."
CHED said that he recognized the academic freedom of all higher education institutions, in particular in the implementation of a policy on mandatory random testing of students' drugs or as part of the conditions for school admission and retention.
"In accordance with the Government Drug Abuse Prevention Program, CHED said local government units (LGUs), the National Police in the Philippines (PNP), or any authorized law enforcement agency can carry out a legitimate drug-related operation in school premises, provided that they align themselves with the respective higher education institutions before his conduct. "
De Vera said that conducting a random examination of students' drugs in tertiary schools is mandatory in accordance with the Law of the Republic 9165 or the 2002 Law on Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs. He also emphasized that the random drug testing within the framework of the DDB will ensure that this is done for the purposes of drug prevention and rehabilitation and that the personal privacy and dignity of students is guaranteed and respected. "
The results of the drug test, De Vera said, "will be treated with the highest confidentiality and can not be used in any criminal proceedings."
In the end, De Veera explained that the implementation guidelines aimed at promoting the "drug-free" camp remain "the legitimate interest of the government in preventing and preventing the dangerous use of drugs by young people". It also aims to "focus on students' minds that dangerous drugs not only interfere with their ability to learn, but also hinder the teaching environment."
De Vera said the guidelines were issued to "establish a stronger partnership between government and higher education institutions in providing programs and activities to facilitate the holistic and well-rounded development of students" and to "ensure that drug policy policies for higher education institutions are reasonable and do not violate basic student rights. "
CHED also hopes to strengthen the joint efforts of the agencies concerned, such as the DDB, the Department of Health (DOH), the PNP and the Philippine Agencies for the Enforcement of Drugs (PDEA) against the use of "illegal drugs and the treatment of dangerous drug users and dependents."
De Vera recalled that the implementation of compulsory drug testing among students in higher education institutions "must have prior approval from the board's management boards and go through the necessary consultation process." He also noticed that only a DOH accredited doctor, a doctor or a private doctor is conducting the necessary drug testing. "If a higher education institution does not have an accredited clinic, the VC should associate with a facility for medicines, doctors or private doctors accredited for DOH, who are duly accredited for the administration of the medicine.