DILG urges support for anti-drug advocacy programs

DILG urges support for anti-drug advocacy programs
FILE - An alleged drug dealer is handcuffed after a drug buy bust operation conducted by policemen where they caught this 18 year old boy selling marijuana in Manila on May 12, 2018. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs has left nearly 4,000 drug suspects dead and seen human rights groups claim he was responsible for a crime against humanity. The anti-drugs campaign enjoys popular support while the fiery-tongued Duterte has rejected any criticism of his human rights record.
AFP / Noel Celis

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government is looking to drum up public support for its anti-drug advocacy program in "Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan" or BIDA Program nationwide on November 26.

"All of us must act and be heroes against illegal drugs. In our hands rests a good tomorrow for our youth free from the scourge of drugs," Abalos said in Filipino in a statement sent to reporters Friday.

BIDA Program is a nationwide anti-illegal drugs advocacy program involving local government units, national government agencies, and other sectors of society that will focus more on drug demand reduction and rehabilitation in the communities.

The DILG said that the program is also meant to "underscore the role of drug enforcement agencies including the Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, National Bureau of Investigation and others."

"If we want to curb the illegal drug problem, we need to nip it in the bud. So through the BIDA program, our focus is drug demand reduction with the help of different sectors in our society," Abalos said.

The DILG chief said the program will tap the best practices of government agencies and other partners in order to strengthen institutions for the implementation of drug-reduction activities, encourage multi-sectoral participation, secure commitments from national government agencies and partner organizations, and raise awareness through information, education, and communication materials. 

Abalos called illegal drugs "a deep-seated issue that has continued to destroy relationships, families and the future of the youth" as he vowed that the anti-drugs campaign will work “within the framework of the law and with respect for human rights and with focus on rehabilitation and socio-economic development.” 

"We cannot rely solely on the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency for the campaign against illegal drugs because we are all affected by it. We all need to act and unite to end the plague that continues to destroy the future of our youth," he said.

Since July, the PNP’s aggressive campaign against illegal drugs has yielded the confiscation of some P9.7-billion worth of illegal drugs and the arrest of 22,646 drug personalities in 18,505 anti-illegal drug operations nationwide.

The PNP has also admitted that anti-drug operations have also led to the deaths of 46 drug suspects, though Dahas PH, a running count of reported drug-related killings by the Third World Studies Center at the University of the Philippines says the death toll is closer to 127. 

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