CSU cancels mandatory drug test policy for enrollees
CAGAYAN, Philippines (UPDATED) – Cagayan State University (CSU), in a surprise move, cancelled its new policy requiring enrollees to undergo drug test as part of their requirement for admission.
In a statement posted in his Facebook page, Fr Ranhilio Aquino, the university vice president for finance and administration, said the school administration has reached an agreement with the Philippine National Police (PNP), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Department Health to allow permanent enrollment of students even without drug test results.
The administration made the decision more than a month after it announced the new policy.
Aquino said that drug tests will be administered during the semester “in accordance with the laws and rules.”
“Henceforth, all enrollments shall be considered permanent enrollment. The Administration will meanwhile continue working out the mechanism for drug-tests during the semester,” Aquino said.
“Denial of admission will only be for the most serious grounds, when there is a real threat to the security and well-being of the university community,” he added.
For students who test positive for drugs, Aquino said they will be referred to the Department of Social Welfare Development upon conferring with their parents. “Whether or not they will be retained in the university will be a decision made after the university officials confer with parents and with the Director of Student Services and Welfare.”
In a statement early Saturday, August 12, Aquino stressed that the school administration did not revoke its drug test policy but just “amended” it to speed up the enrollment process.
“Students are admitted without the drug test results to speed up enrollment but will be tested during the semester in accordance with law,” he said.
Aquino said that in implementing the drug test policy during the semester, the university will take into consideration the following:
- Existing jurisprudence on academic freedom as enunciated by the Supreme Court
- Provisions of Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act
- Decisions of the Board of Regents
- Relevant CHED orders and memoranda
Aquino added that students who have undergone drug testing will no longer be subjected to the updated drug test policy during the semester.
He said this would ensure that students would not waste their money and time in securing their drug test results.
When he reiterated the implementation of the policy last month, Aquino said it was based on “established jurisprudence,” citing the High Court decision on the case of the Social Justice Society vs Dangerous Drugs Board, G.R. 157870 (November 3, 2008).
It was, however, the same decision which reiterated the provision of RA 9165 that drug tests for students must be mandatory but random and devoid of suspicion.
Prior to this announcement, the CSU administration had also extended the period of enrollment as health facilities could not accommodate the number of students who are requesting to undergo drug test.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) recently approved Memorandum Order Number 64, series of 2017, which effectively allows higher education institutions (HEIs) to carry out drug testing.
Student unions and human rights groups have criticized the policy, saying this would endanger students amid the Duterte administration's war on drugs. – Rappler.com