Cagayan State U to bar enrollees who test positive for drugs
CAGAYAN, Philippines (UPDATED) – Cagayan State University (CSU) will deny the admission of enrollees who will test positive in drug tests.
Father Ranhilio Aquino, the university vice president for finance and administration, announced this in a statement released on his Facebook page on Monday, July 24, reiterating the CSU administration's decision to require students to undergo drug tests as part of the government's war on drugs.
Despite opposition to the requirement, Aquino said the university administration decided to move forward on the new policy because "the threat of students of CSU using, dependent on or habituated to drugs is real."
"It is part of the government's campaign against illegal drugs and the university is an instrumentality of national government," he said.
The new policy, according to Aquino, will "screen out drug users, dependents and abusers" from enrolling in the university.
Since the university can only test 100 students per day, Aquino cited other options for drug testing:
- Municipal health office certification
- Philippine National Police crime laboratory
- Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)
- Government hospitals or health facility
- Certfication of a private physician provided under oath
- Certification of government physician employed in a government health facility
If a student tests positive, the enrollment will be deferred. The university will endorse the student for confirmatory testing.
"If the confirmatory test still yields positive results, the student will be denied enrollment and referred to the PNP or to the PDEA for the necessary legal action," Aquino said.
He noted that he posted the new requirement as early as June 14, and that the student body had been properly informed about it for compliance.
Aquino said the Supreme Court upheld the legality of requiring drug testing of all students in schools in 2008, or even before the anti-drug campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte.
He said the implementation of the policy was based on an "established jurisprudence," citing a decision of the High Court on Social Justice Society v. Dangerous Drugs Board, dated November 3, 2008.
The High Court said the provisions of Republic Act Number 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act requiring mandatory, random and suspicionless drug testing of students are "constitutional."
"Indeed, it is within the prerogative of educational institutions to require, as a condition for admission, compliance with reasonable school rules and regulations and policies. To be sure, the right to enroll is not absolute; it is subject to fair, reasonable, and equitable requirements," the SC ruling said.
Last year, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) bared a plan to require drug testing for admission in colleges and universities, which was criticized by lawmakers, as if violated one's right to education.
The Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (Cocopea) had also earlier expressed concern over the CHED plan, which had yet to be drafted.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Wednesday, July 26, reacted to the new policy of CSU, saying the lack of guidelines on the mandatory drug test may violate student's rights.
“The Commission fears that the absence of guidelines formulated in a democratic, consultative manner, this drug testing focused on the youth of this land can potentially put the child’s human rights in danger if being violated,” CHR said.
The commission said that these measures should be “fully compliant with the international and constitutional standards upholding, promoting and protecting the rights of the child.”
It added that the school administration must abide by the conditions for random drug testing under the RA 9165, which include:
- The testing is conducted pursuant to related rules and regulations as contained in the school’s student handbook
- The testing is conducted with notice to the parents.