Students of a Catholic school in Manila hold a demonstration in July to protest the spate of drug-related killings in the country. (Photo by Mark Saludes)
A Philippine government plan for mandatory drug testing of all college students "seriously threatens their safety and right to education," a rights group has warned.
Human Rights Watch said the plan is a "dangerous outgrowth" of the government's "war on drugs" that has already resulted in the deaths of at least 7,000 suspected drug users and dealers.
The Philippines' Commission on Higher Education has already approved a memorandum order for the mandatory drug testing that will be implemented at the start of school next year.
Human Rights Watch, however, said the order will allow the police to "carry out any drug-related operation within a school premises" placing students at "grave risk."
In a statement on Aug. 11, Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said imposing mandatory drug testing amid the drug-related killings "puts countless children in danger for failing a drug test."
Kine said education officials should be protecting students, not putting them in harm's way through mandatory drug tests.
In May, the Department of Education announced that it will also launch random drug tests in primary, elementary, and high schools later this year.
Human Rights Watch said sanctions imposed on students could make them more vulnerable to police abuse.