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Press Release - Chiz: Government-mandated testing must cover all illegal drugs

Senator Chiz Escudero on Tuesday (May 14) said drug test requirements by government agencies should encompass all types of drugs, to include the so-called "rich man's drugs" such as cocaine and ecstasy.

Escudero stated that limiting drug tests to only a few substances such as methamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu" and marijuana, which is the current practice, creates a loophole in law enforcement agencies' efforts to maintain a drug-free environment.

The veteran legislator also said the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), the policy-making body mandated to plan and formulate policies and programs on drug abuse prevention and control in the Philippines, must determine the most effective and efficient ways to conduct drug tests that are still affordable to the people.

"Drug tests should include all types of drugs--not just shabu an marijuana--for drivers, firearms license, pilots license and random tests, among others," Escudero stressed. "We also go beyond the usual urine test if only to ensure that we capture every illegal substance in the person's system.

At yesterday' hearing of the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs led by Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, Escudero said it's within the DDB's jurisdiction to establish clear policy guidelines for drug testing in different instances, such as job applications, driver's license acquisition, and permits for carrying firearms outside of residences.

It was during the hearing that Escudero discovered there were no explicit guidelines regarding the specific drug tests required for individuals applying for a driver's license or permits to carry firearms outside their residences.

DDB Chairman Catalino Cuy has acknowledged that the existing requirements for various drug tests, including those for substances like "shabu" and marijuana, are not derived from written policy guidelines but rather stem from established practices.

"It's the board's job under the law in so far as the type of tests to be conducted whenever drug testing is required as the case maybe in driver's license or for the issuance of a permit to carry firearms outside of residence or other circumstance the executive branch may necessitate," he said.