Group calls for in­quiry into Baguio school preg­nancy test

Manila Times - - Regions - AN­TO­NIO P. RI­MANDO

VAR­I­OUS groups con­tinue to con­demn the manda­tory preg­nancy test the Pines City Col­leges in Baguio im­poses on all fe­male stu­dents as a pre­req­ui­site for their en­roll­ment in its col­leges of Nurs­ing, Den­tistry and Phar­macy.

The health group Anakalusugan also called for a Se­nate or House in­quiry “in aid of leg­is­la­tion” even af­ter the school wrapped up on Fri­day the test­ing that started on Wed­nes­day.

“While we do not want the mother and child to be en­dan-

ba­sis for this, and there are in fact stud­ies to this ef­fect. It should not make a lame ex­cuse of a sup­posed car­ing pol­icy which is in fact, dis­crim­i­na­tory,” Anakalusugan nom­i­nee Mike De­fen­sor said.

The state­ment of the health group came af­ter the Na­tional Pri­vacy Com­mis­sion said they would in­ves­ti­gate the manda­tory preg­nancy test.

The now-vi­ral mem­o­ran­dum of the Pines City Col­leges states that all fe­male stu­dents of the col­leges of Den­tistry, Nurs­ing and Phar­macy must be tested for preg­nancy.

If the test reads pos­i­tive, a fe­male stu­dent would not be al­lowed to take sub­jects that would “en­dan­ger both mother and child.”

“I see this mat­ter about preg­nancy as a con­cern of par­ents,” said Bishop Roberto Mal­lari of the Catholic Bish­ops’ Con­fer­ence of the Philip­pines (CBCP) Com­mis­sion on Cat­e­ch­esis and Catholic Ed­u­ca­tion.

Fr. Jerome Se­cil­lano, ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary of the CBCP’s Com­mit­tee on Pub­lic Af­fairs, said the pol­icy could also com­pro­mise the stu­dents’ rights.

“What does it have to do with ed­u­ca­tion? Is it meant to mon­i­tor a stu­dent’s per­for­mance? At the very least, it is not a sound pol­icy and it may even in­fringe on the stu­dent’s rights,” he noted.

The Gabriela Women’s Party and the Philip­pine Com­mis­sion on Women ( PCW) both con­demned

per­sonal grudge could be pos­si­ble mo­ti­vate for the at­tack. the school pol­icy, cit­ing the Magna Carta of Women.

Ak­bayan Youth said: “The preg­nancy test doesn’t im­prove the qual­ity of our ed­u­ca­tion. It doesn’t in­crease our school’s grad­u­ates. Why are preg­nant stu­dents treated like they are the prob­lem of our ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem?”

“This is a clear vi­o­la­tion of the Magna Carta of Women, which pro­hibits all forms of dis­crim­i­na­tion against women (in this case, against preg­nant stu­dents). This is also a vi­o­la­tion of the right to pri­vacy,” said re­pro­duc­tive health ad­vo­cate Eliz­a­beth Ang­sioco.

Pines City Col­leges (PCC), has wrapped up the tests. Den­tistry stu­dents were to have the test on Novem­ber 7 and phar­macy and nurs­ing stu­dents on Novem­ber 8-9.

A let­ter signed by PCC vice pres­i­dent for ad­min­is­tra­tion Maria Regina Prats and school physi­cian Aure­lia Navarro on Oc­to­ber 25 called for manda­tory preg­nancy test for stu­dents.

The col­lege co­or­di­na­tors are asked to pro­vide the names of the stu­dents, while the stu­dents are asked to pay P150 for the test­ing which is added to their school fees.

“Pines City Col­leges abides by its pol­icy of preg­nancy tests for fe­male stu­dents who are en­rolling in any sub­ject that would en­dan­ger both mother and child. We be­lieve it is a pol­icy pro­tec­tive of our stu­dents while they are in our care and are de­ployed to in­tern­ship pro­grams in hospi­tals and to clin­i­cal prac­tice,” the school said in a state­ment.

“It is a pol­icy agreed to by our stu­dents upon their en­roll­ment in this in­sti­tu­tion,” it added.

Mala­cañang was in agree­ment with the school, as pres­i­den­tial le­gal coun­sel and spokesman Sal­vador Panelo said they see noth­ing wrong with the pol­icy.

Mean­while, the Com­mis­sion on Hu­man Rights is al­ready look­ing into the con­tro­ver­sial school pol­icy.

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