MANILA - The University of the Philippines is urging schools to come up with guidelines to help and protect the identity of students who will test positive in government-mandated drug tests, an official said Wednesday.
An ongoing drug testing program by the Department of Education covered 21,000 secondary students and 10,000 teachers.
"Kapag walang follow through, lalo kang mahihirapang mapa-surface iyung mga gumagamit talaga sapagkat magkakatakutan iyan. Alam naman nating ang environment natin ngayon, maraming namamatay na lang bigla, hindi naiintindihan kung bakit," UP Vice President for Public Affairs Jose Dalisay, Jr. told radio DZMM.
(If there is no follow through, you'd find it more difficult to make drug users surface because there will be a climate of fear. We know that in our current environment, many are killed, without us knowing why.)
"Ang trabaho naman talaga ng eskuwela ay pangalagaan ang kabataan at kapag nangailangan sila ng tulong, nakahanda tayong ibigay ito," he added.
(The job of the school is to protect the youth and be ready to help them when they need it.)
The state university does not see drug testing as a primary concern because drug use is not rampant among its students, said Dalisay.
He also urged the government to study the proposal of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to conduct drug tests among students starting in the fourth grade.
"Makaka-traumatize din iyan sa mga bata kung ma-handle nang mali," he said.
(That will traumatize children if improperly handled.)
Malacañang has also rejected PDEA's suggestion, agreeing instead with Education Secretary Leonor Briones, who said that the Dangerous Drugs Act limits drug testing to high school students and excludes those in grade school.