By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Students at universities, colleges, and other higher education institutions (HEI) will be subject to compulsory random drug testing starting in the academic year 201-2020.
This was praised by the Chairperson of the Higher Education Commission (CHED) Prospero de Vera III when he stressed that HEI was expected to implement a mandatory randomized drug test for students, with notice to parents.
De Vera, in CHED Memorandum No. 18 series of 2018, issued implementation guidelines for testing medicines for students in all HEIs. Under the guidelines, he noted that "drug problems in the Philippines continue to be a serious national concern that penetrates the public and private sectors not only as a security problem, but also as a health problem affecting social, emotional, psychological, as well as the economic well-being of citizens. "
De Vera notes that the government recognizes the free role of public and private HEI and "must carry out reasonable supervision and regulation." In view of this, CHED instructs all HEIs to "include in their Student Handbook the implementation of mandatory random drug testing, with notification. to parents. "
Apart from random drug testing, De Vera said that a HEI can, "in its institutional academic freedom parameters" also include in its Student Handbook "the policy for conducting drug testing is mandatory as a requirement for acceptance and storage," after compliance with "consultation and requirements other similar. " "In cases where drug tests produce positive results, the HEI concerned is not prohibited from accepting students / applicants, unless there is a legitimate reason not to accept the student / applicant for other reasons. The findings are positive as a result of drug testing." De Vera said that fees for drug tests before admission "will be borne by the student-applicant." He can also choose to be tested in any DOH-accredited drug facility or at an official HEI facility, if any.
De Vera said that CHED – as part of its mandate – "has an obligation to continue to monitor the effectiveness of dangerous drug abuse prevention programs through their respective regional / field offices" and can "request assistance from government agencies or instruments to bring the objectives of this program . "
HEIs, De Vera said, must have a mechanism to "promote healthy lifestyles such as but not limited to healthy diets, physical activity, and not smoking and drinking alcohol on and off the school campus."
CHED said it recognized the academic freedom of all HEIs, especially in implementing policies on compulsory random drug testing of their students or as part of school entry and retention requirements.
"In accordance with the government's dangerous drug abuse prevention program, CHED said that the Regional Government Unit (LGU), the Philippine National Police (PNP), or any official law enforcement agency could carry out legal drug-related operations inside the school building, with provisions that the same thing must be coordinated to the HEI concerned before his action. "
De Vera said that the random drug testing behavior of students in tertiary schools is compulsory in accordance with Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act of 2002. He also noted that random drug testing under the Dangerous Drug Agency Regulations (DDB) must be " make sure that it is carried out for the purpose of drug prevention and rehabilitation and must guarantee and respect the privacy and personal dignity of the students. "
The results of drug tests, said De Vera, must be "treated with utmost confidentiality and cannot be used in any criminal process."
In the end, De Vera explained that the implementation guidelines aimed to promote "drug-free" campuses and furthermore "the government's legitimate interests in preventing and obstructing dangerous drug use among youth." It also aims to "instill in the minds of students that dangerous drugs not only interfere with their ability to learn but also disrupt the teaching environment."
De Vera said that the guidelines were issued to "build stronger partnerships between government and HEIs in providing programs and activities intended to facilitate the development of comprehensive and comprehensive students" and to "ensure that drug testing policies of HEIs are reasonable and do not violate basic rights of students. "
CHED also hopes to strengthen collaborative efforts from related institutions such as DDB, the Ministry of Health (DOH), PNP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on the use of "illegal drugs and in the treatment of users and dependents of dangerous drugs". . "
De Vera reminded that the implementation of mandatory drug tests in HEI "must get prior approval from the board that regulates the school and goes through the necessary consultation process." Likewise, he noted that only DOH accredited drug facilities, doctors or private medical practitioners must conduct testing medicine needed. "If HEI does not have an accredited clinic, HEI must partner with DOH accredited drug facilities, doctors or private medical practitioners who are accredited to provide drugs.