MANILA - The Department of Education is bent on conducting drug tests among students, teachers, and personnel in the incoming school year, a senior official said Sunday.
"Random drug testing po ang gagawin po natin sa mga estudyante; sa DepEd personnel, mandatory," Education Undersecretary Tonisito Umali said in a phone interview with radio DZMM.
(We will conduct random drug testing among students and mandatory testing among DepEd personnel.)
The drug testing is part of DepEd's efforts to support the anti-narcotics crackdown of President Rodrigo Duterte. It will cover secondary students, elementary and secondary school teachers, and officers from the central, regional, and school division offices.
With the consent of parents or guardians, DepEd will conduct drug tests among students in "a very discreet manner" to prevent traumatizing them, Umali said.
Depending on a student's degree of addiction, DepEd may offer him psycho-social intervention or admission to a drug rehabilitation center.
Deped, Umali added, is still considering the automatic dismissal from service of personnel who will be found positive for drug use.
"Depende po kasi iyan if you look at the person as a victim or an offender. There is no doubt that if the teaching or non-teaching personnel is guilty of drug pushing, e dapat talagang habulin iyan pero kung gumagamit po, siya po ba ay biktima or offender," Umali said.
(It will depend on whether you view the person as a victim or an offender. If the teaching or non-teaching personnel is guilty of drug pushing, there no doubt that we should hold him accountable. But if he is a drug user, we should look into whether he is a victim or an offender.)
ALL SET FOR NEXT SCHOOL YEAR
In the same interview, Umali also assured that DepEd is already prepared for the opening of classes in public schools on June 5.
DepEd has allocated a budget of P543 million for the incoming school year, which Umali said will be enough to hire 53,000 teachers and continue the construction of 47,000 classrooms.
Umali urged students and their parents to join the May 15-20 Brigada Eskwela Week, a yearly event where volunteers help in the repair and maintenance of school facilities.