DepEd to discuss with authorities on drug tests for students

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 1) —  The Department of Education (DepEd) said it is ready to meet with the law enforcement agencies to discuss concerns about drug testing for students.

Speaking to CNN Philippines Sunday, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said they have been working with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for many years, as she has been informed about students involved in drugs.

"They would inform me and ipapadala yung (send the) information in a sealed envelope. And my instructions to everyone in DepEd is basta galing sa (when it is from) PDEA, and it is sealed, it is more confidential, no clerk is allowed to open it. It goes directly to me," Brioned said.

She said they would want the meeting to include the Philippine National Police, adding that schools do not want to encourage uniformed officials entering campuses to inspect their students' bags. She said they want to avoid risk of traumatizing children, their parents and grandparents.

Briones said their system for drug testing was "air tight", as operated by the law. 

"Maliwanag ang batas... Ang batas – Dangerous Drugs Law – nagsasabi ng kailangang gagawin para sa [The law is clear... the law - Dangerous Drugs Law - says what should be done in the case of] high school and above. So, that law is there and we implement according to the law, and that is also what the President told us," she said.

She also noted that they have been quietly working to implement the law and make sure that everything is kept confidential.

"We cannot reveal to you even the school kasi... if they also know, public also knows the school, then parents will be afraid of that school. Ang aming drug testing [Our drug testing], is there is nothing on the record of the child. Wala sa record niya [It's not on the record]. It's not going to be a basis of expulsion. It's not going to be a basis for passing or failing. Because if you are 10 years old, and eventually in your life you go on to university and you have something like that on your school record, then you will be marked for life," Briones said.

She added there were no identities and only she will know who the children are.