The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) over the weekend expressed support for a proposed measure seeking mandatory drug testing for all convicts, parolees, probationers and arrested persons who are under the influence of illegal drugs.
PDEA Director General Undersecretary Arturo Cacdac, Jr. said the agency supports House Bill (HB) 2777, an act endorsed and approved by the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs chaired by Rep. Vicente Belmonte Jr. of Lanao del Norte.
“HB 2777 aims to amend Section 36, Article III of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, that defines the authorized dangerous drugs testing and purpose of record requirements,” Cacdac said.
The bill, authored by Rep. Samuel Pagdilao, Jr. of the Anti-Crime and Terrorism-Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) party-list, requires all inmates and those released on probation or on parole to undergo drug testing every six months. Arrested persons are also mandated to submit themselves to a drug test provided that authorities find probable cause to believe that the offender is a substance abuser or high on drugs at the time of the arrest.
The proposed measure also tasks any government forensic and drug-testing laboratories accredited and monitored by the Department of Health to administer the drug tests and safeguard the quality of the results.
“The bill, once approved by Congress, can be a huge prevention effort in keeping illegal drugs out of our jail facilities. If a detainee is found positive for drug use, it shows that illegal drugs are readily accessible in that prison. Through the bill, our correctional systems can further strengthen precautionary measures in preventing entry of illegal drugs,” Cacdac said.
The PDEA chief added that even after incarceration the monitoring of released inmates through random drug testing would ensure their efficient reintegration into society.