Sen. Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan asked that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) shelve their proposal to implement mandatory drug test for school personnel, teachers and students starting 10 years old and above.
“We propose that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency shelve this slapdash and panicky plan trained on little children, and instead go after the big drug lords to stop the flow of illegal drugs,” Pangilinan said in a statement
According to the senator, the plan of PDEA is ‘illegal, a waste of money and resources, and has a prejudiced approach to the problem of illegal drugs in the country’.
Pangilinan further believes that the proposal is ‘an admission that the war on drugs is ineffective’.
The lawmaker added that the testing fee, estimated to be Php 2.8 billion, could become another source of corruption, and would be better used for augmenting the school feeding program, building additional classrooms, funding the additional salary of public school teachers, and procuring textbooks or school supplies.
The proposal of PDEA was met with criticism by lawmakers, and the Department of Education (DepEd), which claimed that the said plan violates the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, also known as Republic Act 9165, which only authorizes random drug testing to tertiary and secondary students.
The Education agency also added that they have an ongoing drug testing program and a comprehensive drug prevention education program, which was reiterated by Pangilinan in his statement.
PDEA proposed the drug testing to students after rescuing children, the youngest of which is six years old, during their anti-illegal drug operations, and arresting 21 teachers, whose clients are suspected to be co-workers or students.