SWS: 51% agree with PDEA plan on drug testing for Grade 4 up

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By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

HALF of Filipinos or 51% agree to a proposal by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for the government to conduct mandatory drug testing on grade 4 students and up, according to the latest survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

The Third Quarter 2018 Social Weather Survey, fielded on September 15-23, found that 51% agree (31% strongly agree, 20% somewhat agree), 36% disagree (24% strongly disagree, 12% somewhat disagree), and 13% are undecided on PDEA’s proposal for mandatory drug testing for students grade 4 and up.

The noncommissioned survey found that net agreement with PDEA’s proposal was highest in the Visayas “at a very strong +47 (69% agree, 21% disagree, correctly rounded), followed by Mindanao at a moderately strong +25 (51% agree, 26% disagree), Metro Manila at a moderately strong +17 (53% agree, 36% disagree), and Balance Luzon at a neutral -6 (42% agree, 48% disagree).”

Sought for comment during a press briefing at the Palace on Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said: “I think that’s a good idea because at least the parents will know whether or not their children are addicted or being used in the drug industry.”

For his part, PDEA Director General Aaron N. Aquino said in a statement that his agency is “thankful that based on the SWS survey, majority of the Filipinos are agreeing with [them] in pushing for this program.”

“This is definitely another step in realizing our goal for a drug-cleared country,” he added.

The same survey found net satisfaction rating on President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s war on illegal drugs remaining a “very good”+64 (76% satisfied, 12% dissatisfied), 1 point below the “very good” +65 (78% satisfied, 13% dissatisfied) in the previous quarter.

The SWS noted that “satisfaction with the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs was at an excellent +76 when it was first surveyed in September 2016.” The survey said the 1-point decrease in nationwide net satisfaction “was because of the decreases in support both in Mindanao and Metro Manila.”

Despite the 14-point decrease in Mindanao, net satisfaction with the anti-illegal drug campaign there remains “excellent,” from “+84 (89% satisfied, 5% dissatisfied) in June 2018 to +70 (78% satisfied, 8% dissatisfied) in September.” Net satisfaction with the campaign remains “very good” in Metro Manila despite the 12-point decrease “from +67 (79% satisfied, 12% dissatisfied) in June to +55 (72% satisfied, 17% dissatisfied) in September,” which the SWS said is the “lowest” net satisfaction rating recorded in the area since the question was first fielded in 2016.

In Balance Luzon, net satisfaction with the campaign stays “very good,” and is “up by 8 points from +58 (74% satisfied, 16% dissatisfied) in June to +66 (78% satisfied, 12% dissatisfied) in September.”

It also stays “very good” in the Visayas, which is “up by 1 point from +57 (74% satisfied, 16% dissatisfied, correctly rounded) in June to +58 (73% satisfied, 15% dissatisfied) in September.”