The Department of Education is asking the Philippine National Police for a meeting regarding the police's plan to conduct surprise inspections of student lockers as part of its anti-drug campaign.
In an interview on Super Radyo dzBB on Saturday, DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said Education Secretary Leonor Briones has expressed concern regarding the PNP's plan.
National Capitol Region Police Office (NCRPO) director Chief Superintendent Guillermo Eleazar on Wednesday proposed to implement random bag and locker inspections in schools to nip the country's drug problem in the bud.
"Gusto niya (Briones) ay magkaroon ng pag-uusap si PNP chief at saka siya para rin makapag-share kami ng programa at kung mayroong kailangang aksyon, we have to make sure we have coordination and protocols are in place," Malaluan said.
"If there are law enforcement operations or initiatives that would, example, target students, we would like that to be properly coordinated with the Department of Education due to considerations such as child protection policy and schools as zones of peace," he added.
Malaluan noted that for the school year opening last Monday, the DepEd and the PNP coordinated well, and he is confident this would continue for the drug prevention campaign.
He said the DepEd has strengthened its drug prevention program when Briones assumed her post.
There are three pillars in the DepEd's preventive drug program, he said:
- curriculum and instruction: Preventive drug education is systematically taught in two subjects and homeroom sessions
- youth formation and co-curricular activities
- drug-free workplace and drug-free schools.
"Under the drug-free workplace and drug-free schools, nagpapatupad kami simula last school year and this coming school year ng drug testing program," Malaluan said.
"Patuloy 'yan. It was designed for two years. We have a statistical design na 'yung sina-sample naming schools ay representative of all schools. Ilalahad namin sa publiko ano 'yung prevalence of drugs in the public school system. This will constitute a benchmark for drug prevention program," the DepEd undersecretary said.
Briones earlier said the drug test results "will not be a basis for kicking out the student or kicking out a faculty member." The results "will be a basis for treatment, if treatment is necessary," she said.
"Itong drug testing ay isang aspeto lamang dahil ang pangunahing papel ng department is in the formal instruction. May two major subjects na nakapaloob ang preventive drug campaign: Health at Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao," Malaluan said.
He added that DepEd's preventive drug program is comprehensive.
"We would like to assure... hindi nagpapabaya ang Department of Education dito," Malaluan said.
He added that the talks between DepEd and PNP may soon happen.
"The Secretary has already directed the department to get in touch with the PNP chief. It's a matter of scheduling. We hope it will happen soonest," Malaluan said.
Maluan also said parent-teachers' associations should also be made part of the drug prevention campaign.
"Dapat magkatuwang tayo. Ang parents dapat strong partner dito," Malaluan said.
ACT Teachers party-list Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro on Thursday registered their opposition to Eleazar's proposal to implement random bag and locker inspections in schools.
In a statement, the lawmakers said the proposal—which is seen to help address the country's drug problem—is an attack on the privacy of students and is reminiscent of Oplan Tokhang. —KG, GMA News