Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte wants to make drug testing a requirement for all incoming college students. Starting next year, students who test positive must go through rehabilitation before being admitted into a university.
The Philippines has been struggling to tackle its growing drug crime crisis for months. Since Duterte came to power in June, there have been 2,400 drug-related deaths.
Julito Vitriolo, executive director of the Commission on Higher Education, said the government is hoping to make drug testing a requirement for all incoming college students, Reuters reported Thursday. Vitriolo said the plan would help make campuses drug-free and hold students accountable for continuing their studies without using substances. Drug testing is currently done on a voluntary basis.
"This was born out of the president's call to make campuses drug-free, because we see the pervasive effects of drug use," he told Reuters. "What's important is for students not to use drugs. It will be a deterrent if they want to continue their studies."
Duterte's government has also debated whether to make drug testing a requirement for employment, reported Asian Correspondent. During his campaign, Duterte, nicknamed "the Punisher," vowed to wipe out drugs and dealers.
Roughly 3.7 million are suspected of drug use in the Philippines, fueling an epidemic of crime, including rape, robbery and theft. Police officials have said they killed more than 700 people in recent months amid the ongoing war on drugs. The United Nations and international human rights groups have called the killings excessive.
"If you have friends or family, tell them, 'Don’t get into drugs,'" Duterte told citizens Wednesday. "'You will be killed.'"
Human Rights Watch has called on the United States and European Union members to "make it clear to Duterte that inciting such violence is unacceptable and will reap potentially severe diplomatic and economic costs." "Otherwise, it's hard to envision when these killings will end," it said.