Lack of clear guide­lines puts drug tests on hold

Manila Bulletin - - Visayas News - By KIER EDI­SON C. BELLEZA

CEBU CITY — The sur­prise drug test (SDT) for pub­lic el­e­men­tary school teach­ers here has been tem­po­rar­ily put on hold, ac­cord­ing to a Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (DepEd) of­fi­cial.

Danilo Gude­losao, DepEd – Cebu City Di­vi­sion As­sis­tant Schools Di­vi­sion Su­per­in­ten­dent, said the lack of clear guide­lines prompted the tem­po­rary sus­pen­sion.

He added that it was also meant to give way for their cen­tral of­fice to re­fine the guid­ing prin­ci­ples.

“We have tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended the drug test­ing (for pub­lic school teach­ers) be­cause we would want to make things clear, es­pe­cially that the head of­fice is still fi­nal­iz­ing the guide­lines,” he said.

How­ever, Gude­losao em­pha­sized that this does not mean that the ran­dom drug test­ing will not re­sume, say­ing a gov­ern­ment em­ployee is re­quired to un­dergo the screen­ing.

The SDT, which started in Septem­ber this year, has al­ready con­ducted the tests on more than 200 out of the city’s 5,500 pub­lic school teach­ers.

At least 255 teach­ers and non-teach­ing per­son­nel from 12 pub­lic schools have un­der­gone the tests since the ini­tia­tive was launched.

The teach­ers are from the fol­low­ing schools: Regino Mer­cado El­e­men­tary School, Regino Mer­cado Night High School, Alaska Mam­bal­ing El­e­men­tary School (AMES), Alaska Mam­bal­ing Night High School, Can­tipla In­te­grated School, Tabunan In­te­grated School, Tag­bao El­e­men­tary School, Tag­baoNa­tional School, Paril El­e­men­tary School, Paril Na­tional High School, Cam­binocot El­e­men­tary School, and Cam­binocot High School.

The re­sults showed that no one was found pos­i­tive of il­le­gal drug use. Only a male teacher at AMES re­port­edly re­fused to un­dergo the test in­sti­tuted by the City Of­fice of Sub­stance Abuse Pre­ven­tion be­cause he was “sick.”

The drug test­ing is man­dated by DepEd Order No. 37 se­ries of 2017 or the Deped Drug-Free Work­place Pol­icy which was pro­mul­gated last July 31.

Mayor To­mas Osmeña, in a seper­ate in­ter­view, said the lack of clear guide­lines is not enough rea­son for the city gov­ern­ment to dis­con­tinue the drug screen­ings among pub­lic school teach­ers.

“If there’s a lousy teacher maybe be­cause he’s on drugs, (it’s) the stu­dents (who) will suf­fer. Are they con­cerned of the wel­fare of the teach­ers or the wel­fare of the stu­dents? The worst thing that can hap­pen is when the stu­dents don’t ben­e­fit from ed­u­ca­tion be­cause the teacher is a drunk­ard, a drug user,” the mayor said.

Mean­while, City Coun­cilor Joy Au­gus­tus Young, who is also the deputy mayor for ed­u­ca­tion mat­ters, has asked the City Le­gal Of­fice for a le­gal opin­ion on the city gov­ern­ment’s le­gal ba­sis to re­sume the SDTs.

“It is laid down in the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Code that the city can hold a drug test even if DepEd would say it should be put off. But I want to make sure that we have a le­gal ba­sis for that be­fore we can pro­ceed,” Young said.

SALUTE TO FALLEN HEROES – Gen­eral Rey Leonardo Guer­rero, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philip­pines, and Chief of the Cen­tral Com­mand (CENT­COM) Lt. Gen. Os­car Lac­tao on their way to honor the fallen sol­diers of the war through a wreath-lay­ing cer­e­mony dur­ing the 16th Found­ing An­niver­sary of the AFP CENT­COM at Camp La­pu­lapu in Cebu City yes­ter­day. (Juan Carlo De Vela)

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