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Cebu News

DILG-7 launches Visayas leg of anti-drug program

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government Region-7 launched yesterday the Visayas Leg of the “Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Awayan” (BIDA) program at the Plaza Independencia in Cebu City.

The event, which gathered together different government offices and stakeholders in the Visayas, aims to encourage the public to become a staunch advocates in weeding out illegal drugs.

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

It also underscored the role of drug enforcement agencies including the Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, National Bureau of Investigation, and others.

 In Cebu City, BIDA campaign took off with a Bike Out, Fun Run, zumba session and motorcade, followed by a program at the Plaza Independencia. It was graced by DILG Undersecretary Marlo Iringan, Assistant Secretary Frank Cruz, Asec. Ester Aldana, and DILG-7 officials.

 Iringan in his speech emphasized the importance of the role of private sectors and public sectors in the fight against illegal drugs.

“Pangarap po natin ang tahimik at mapayapang lugar… Ito ay laban ng lahat, a whole of nation approach. Tinitingnan natin ang partisipasyon ng private sectors at talaga namang malaki ang role nila lalo na sa pagbibigay ng livelihood program sa sumasailalim sa rehabilitation program,” he said.

BIDA promotes a whole-of-nation approach in advocating and helping the government end the country’s illegal drug problem.

The program puts a premium on drug demand reduction and rehabilitation in the communities and underscores the role of drug enforcement agencies and other concerned government offices.

 DILG Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos, Jr., who was at the Quezon City launching, said that the key to the success of BIDA is the support of the communities and the people themselves who should reject and say no to illegal drugs and report the drug activities in their areas to the authorities.

“Sa ating lahat, ang hamon ay ugatin natin ang problema ng droga. Dito sa BIDA, hindj lang kapulisan at iba pang law enforcement units ang kikilos, hanggang grassroots kasama natin dapat dito,” he said.

BIDA ambassadors Olympian Mary Joy Tabal, Southeast Asian (SEA) Games medalist Andrew Kim Remolino and Nino Surban, and beauty queen Kris Tiffany Janson gave their message of support.

 The Visayas launching capped off with the attendees signing a unity statement to express their commitment to carrying out the BIDA program’s objectives in their respective jurisdictions.

 The DILG has encouraged the public to become BIDA advocates and help put an end to the country’s illegal drugs problem as the government launch the BIDA program nationwide? Abalos in a statement said that the illegal drugs problem is a deep-seated issue that has continued to destroy relationships, families and the future of the youth, and it is high time for all sectors of the society to make a stand and do their part through the BIDA program.?

According to DILG, sincePresident Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. assumed office in July this year, the PNP’s aggressive campaign against illegal drugs resulted in the confiscation of some P9.7-billion worth of various illegal drugs confiscated and the arrest of 22,646 drug personalities in 18,505 anti-illegal drug operations nationwide.

Abalos said the anti-drugs campaign under the Marcos administration pioneers a different approach that will work “within the framework of the law and with respect for human rights and with focus on rehabilitation and socio-economic development.”?

Abalos added that the program will tap the best practices of LGUs, NGAs 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. — LPM  (FREEMAN)

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