A militant student group on Tuesday opposed the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHEd) approval and impending implementation of mandatory drug testing for college students.
“Academic freedom should not be about incriminating students. Drug testing should be non-mandatory, and it should not be a requirement for admission in schools,” Mark Vincent Lim, national spokesman for the National Union of Students of the Philippines, said.
“We cannot allow the Duterte administration’s Oplan Tokhang to take place in schools. It will make students possible targets of the bloody war on drugs which has claimed the lives of thousands of suspected drug users, both from police operations and vigilante-style killings,” Lim added.
The student leader said the government should review how it sees drug addiction as a problem, noting that drug dependents should be regarded not as criminals but as citizens needing medical care and rehabilitation.
“If Duterte is serious in addressing the problem of drug addiction, he should destroy the foundation of poverty by taking a step for pro-people socio-economic reforms such as providing free education, social services, jobs and living wages.,” Lim added.
The CHEd has approved Memorandum Order 64, Series of 2017, which allows higher education institutions to conduct mandatory drug testing of college students as well as student applicants.