ALTHOUGH there have been more than 1,800 minors including students who have been ‘rescued’ or arrested since 2016 for their involvement in illegal drug trafficking and abuse, Philippine National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde said police will not conduct anti-narcotics operations inside schools and universities without the consent of concerned authorities.
To prove his point, the PNP chief has ordered his men to fully comply with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) guidelines when it comes to the conduct of anti-narcotics operations in colleges and universities with the protection of human rights of all concerned their primordial concern as always.
“We will follow the rule of law here. We want to assure the public that human rights is deeply embedded in the system of the Philippine National Police. That we can promise and we can assure the public.
It means that our men would need to coordinate with school administrators should they conduct operations in a certain school. We will not come in na parang magko-conduct ng buy-bust. No, we will not do that. We will surely coordinate with the faculty, yung mga administrator doon, sa mga security managers nila sa different schools,” the PNP chief said.
However, Gen. Albayalde said the PNP has not received reports on colleges and universities being used as a hotbed for illegal drugs. What is being reported is the presence of young students of public schools who have been accosted for selling or possession of either marijuana or shabu while others are being used as ‘runners’ by drug syndicates in Metro Manila.
CHED chairman J. Prospero Vera III earlier said law enforcement agencies may conduct anti-illegal drug operations in the premises of higher education institutions provided they coordinate with school officials.
De Vera also said any legitimate drug-related operation may be conducted in tertiary institutions in line with the dangerous drugs prevention program of the government. Police have made several drug-related arrests in high schools and elementary schools involving young students who were found out to be carrying prohibited drugs this year prompting the PNP to propose surprise inspections and drug tests to address the issue.
The CHED said the conduct of mandatory random drug testing is in line with provisions of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act and should be implemented in accordance with regulations of the Dangerous Drugs Board.
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chair, Director General Aaron N. Aquino earlier thanked the Palace for expressing its complete support on their proposal to subject students to a mandatory drug test as part of their program to ensure drug-free schools nationwide.