DUE to the gravity of the problem, the drug menace still worries the government and the Filipino people more than a year after hard-hitting President Duterte assumed the top political post of the land.
But like other well-meaning people, we believe that President Duterte is capable and in a position to make the Philippines a drug-free country before his six-year term of office ends at 12 noon on June 30, 2022.
Note that concerned state offices, like the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Education (DepEd), have not shown any sign of backing off from their commitment to address the menace.
While the PNP continues to go after drug manufacturers, pushers and users, the DepEd, headed by Secretary Leonor Briones is set to conduct mandatory drug testing of its employees, including teachers.
The drug testing, to be conducted in partnership with the Department of Health (DoH), has an allocated budget of some P39 million. It will also cover applicants for teaching and non-teaching positions.
Likewise, the DepEd will conduct a random drug testing of high school students, which is aimed at ascertaining the prevalence of illegal drugs in schools in various parts of the country.
Under Section 36 of Republic Act (RA) No. 9165, high school and college students shall undergo a random drug testing in pursuant to the related rules and regulations as contained in the school’s handbook and with notice to parents.
RA No. 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, also requires officers and employees of public and private offices to undergo random drug tests.
DepEd authorities deserve the support of the various sectors of society, including the academe, media, business and sports, as they try to ferret out drug-dependent public school teachers.
It is a move in the right direction.