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Palace : No to mandatory drug testing of grade school students

Malacañang on Monday backed the Department of Education (DepEd) in opposing the mandatory drug testing of grade school students as proposed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

In a press briefing in Cagayan de Oro City, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr. said that the Palace would consent to the decision of DepEd regarding the issue.

“We concur with Secretary (Leonor) Briones that the Dangerous Drug Act limits possible drug testing to high school and not to grade school students,” Roque said.

“Secretary Briones has spoken. The Dangerous Drug Act prohibits drug testing in the elementary level, but we can have drug testing in high school,” he added.

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said the proposal covers not only Grade 4 students and up, but also teachers and other school employees. He explained it would help ensure a more effective campaign against illegal drugs.

But to make it happen, Aquino said, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 must first be amended.

The PDEA chief claimed professors in some universities in the country are themselves involved in illegal drugs.

He cited the case of professor Samson Mulao, the president of Cotabato Foundation College and Science of Technology in Cotabato, who was recently arrested after being identified as a drug lord. He was believed to have sold illegal drugs to students.

Aquino also expressed alarm over the arrest of a ten-year-old caught in the act of using illegal drugs.

But Roque said Briones’ position was based on jurisprudence in the United States on the same issue of drug testing to minors.

“We take the side of Secretary Briones invoking that in the United States, what has been upheld as being constitutional is only random testing for high school,” he stressed. #