Pangilinan to PDEA: ‘Shelve’ drug test for teachers, pupils
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan called on the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Monday to “shelve” its proposed mandatory drug testing for teachers and Grade 4 pupils and up.
Pangilinan, a lawyer, made the call after the proposal was met with strong objection from various sectors, including those allied with the administration.
“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,” the senator said in a statement.
“We join the critics of the idea, led by the Department of Education (DepEd), because such a move is illegal, a waste of money and resources, and has a prejudiced approach to the problem of illegal drugs in the country,” he said.
The PDEA is proposing mandatory drug tests for elementary students starting from Grade 4 and all teachers after it said that agents accosted a Grade 4 pupil using drugs and arrested a public school teacher for drug trafficking.
Pangilinan said the proposal was an admission that the brutal government war on drugs was “ineffective.”
Besides, he said, a law would be needed to implement the mandatory drug testing for teachers and pupils.
Pangilinan echoed DepEd’s statement that the mandatory drug testing would violate the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
“With regard to the cost, this would be another source of corruption,” he said.
“Given a population of at least 14 million students from Grade 4 to Grade 12 alone, the testing fee could amount to P2.8 billion. Who will earn from this expensive program?”
He said the money would be better used to augment the school feeding program “so that children would be nourished and not be swayed to use illegal drugs.”
“The budget could also get them textbooks or schools supplies, or even build additional classrooms. It could also help fund the additional salary public school teachers have been demanding for a long time,” Pangilinan said. /cbb
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