The Department of Education (DepEd) is not allowing the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PEDA) to conduct any drug test in schools.
DepEd region XI spokesperson Jenelito Atillo said the DepEd, based on the policy of Sec. Leonor Briones, only allows the Department of Health (DoH) to conduct drug tests to students and teachers.
Atillo issued the statement after PDEA revealed its plan to conduct a drug test on a certain school after receiving reports of drug use among students.
“(The) DepEd is saying NO because it must be the DOH, not PDEA, (who should do the drug testing),” Atillo said. “The DOH should do the testing since we consider the drug problem as a health issue.”
While the DepEd and DOH treat drug addiction as health problem and have a line-up program for the matter, Atillo said law enforcement agencies “have a different direction.”
“We should follow the process because we are protecting the rights of the children,” Atillo added.
Atillo said they also want to know what school the PDEA is referring so they can act on it.
PDEA Regional Director Antonio Rivera, in an interview with TIMES, refused to name the school.
Rivera said they received reports on students who are using marijuana in a particularly school that they are already monitoring.
He said they have informed the school principal on the report, and suggested for a drug test. However, he said they have yet to get a response.
As the school year opened, the PDEA has lined-up a series of symposiums in various schools in the city and provinces.
“Part of our demand reduction program is the continued lectures on symposiums in schools so the students would know the ill effects of drugs,” Rivera said. Demand reduction refers to the efforts aimed at reducing the public desire for illegal and illicit drugs.