Focus on drug sources, not kids, PDEA told
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) should focus on going after the source of illegal drugs in the country rather than on children who may have fallen victims to narcotics, an opposition senator said.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan on Monday joined the opposition to the PDEA’s proposal to have mandatory drug tests for children in Grade 4, who could be as young as 10 years old.
Pangilinan said the idea underscored the failure of the Duterte administration’s antidrug program, which had been blamed for summary killings of drug suspects.
“This proposal is an admission that the brutal government war on drugs is ineffective,” he said in a statement.
He said it was likewise illegal to subject children to drug tests as it would violate the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Pangilinan warned that it would be a waste of resources as drug tests would be expensive and could be a source of corruption.
“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,” he said. “Who will earn from this expensive program?”
The amount, he said, would be better spent on school feeding programs, textbooks, school supplies, new classrooms and salaries of public school teachers.
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