ORGANIZED youth activists yesterday aired their opposition to the plan of the Commission of Higher Education (Ched) to conduct mandatory drug testing in universities, colleges and other higher educational institutions next academic year.
“It is very alarming to hear such plans especially in Cagayan de Oro where there is an observable increase in the number of killings related to the ‘drug war.’ The recent incidents happened in almost the same manner and pattern of ‘nisukol maong namatay’ which is unlikely and hard to believe,” said Vennel Chenfoo, coordinator for northern Mindanao of the youth group Kabataan.
Chenfoo said that instead of performing its mandate to provide free and quality education for the youth, Ched, under Commissioner Prospero de Vera III, “blindly follows” those who endanger the lives of the youth.
In a statement sent to this paper, Kabataan said the plan is the same with the apparent red-tagging of activists and their organizations inside the universities.
“We will never allow Duterte’s thirst for blood inside the universities of our region. Clearly, the ‘war on drugs’ is an epic failure of this administration, targeting and killing the poor while allowing drug lords and their protectors free from harm,” Chenfoo said.
Chenfoo said several state universities in the region are still collecting fees despite the implementation of the free education “Ched should be focusing on this, and not the bloody war on drugs,” he said. “Martial law in Mindanao and the bloody war on drugs are a dangerous combination that will surely threaten the lives of the youth and the people of Mindanao. We call on all the youth to defend their academic freedom and basic rights inside the university. Let us not be cowed by the continuing attacks of the state and its apparatuses.”