By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — ACT Teachers’ Partylist raised alarm over Department of Education (DepEd) Order 40 directing random drug testing of junior and senior high school students, saying it may lead to more “tokhang” victims.
ACT Partylist Representative France de Castro expressed this during the DepEd Budget hearing in congress last August 22. She said that DepEd Order 40 directing the random testing of some 60,000 junior and senior high school students will lead “tokhang” in schools that will victimize students.
“How can the Department assure the public that any data will be handled with the highest confidentiality and not end up used for tokhang which has already claimed the lives of thousands including minors like 5-year-old Danica Garcia last year and 17-year-old Kian De los Santos just recently? How can the Department assure that any student who tested positive will be in no way treated as a criminal?” she asked.
She said that Kian’s case highlights the importance of due process and rule of law especially with the present anti-illegal drug campaign.
“Mapagkamalan ka lang, i-nguso ka lang, patay na. Kaya takot tayo, ang mga magulang, estudyante, komunidad, na dahil sa drug testing na ito, mas marami pang mamamatay sa so-called war on drugs ng administrasyon,” Castro added.
Castro noted that earlier Secretary Leonor Briones issued DepEd Order 37, series of 2017 directing a “mandatory, random and suspicionless drug testing of all incumbent officials and employees in the Central, Regional and Division Offices”. She said that subjecting all employees to a drug test goes beyond the law, citing Section 36 (d), Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, which stresses the randomness of the procedure: “Officers and employees of public and private offices, whether domestic or overseas, shall be subjected to undergo a random drug test as contained in the company’s work rules and regulations, which shall be borne by the employer, for purposes of reducing the risk in the workplace.” # nordis.net