DILG launches whole-of-nation approach vs. illegal drugs

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

October 7, 2022, 6:15 pm

<p>DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. <em>(Screengrab from DILG Facebook live video)</em></p>

DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. (Screengrab from DILG Facebook live video)

MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday launched a program aimed at implementing a whole-of-nation approach to eliminate illegal drugs in the country.

In a statement, Interior Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” C. Abalos, Jr. said the campaign, dubbed as “Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan” or BIDA Program, is in line with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. administration’s commitment to continue the campaign against illegal drugs “within the framework of the law and with respect for human rights and with focus on rehabilitation and socio-economic development.”

He said the BIDA advocacy program banks on the best practices of the past DILG programs against illegal drugs and now focuses on combatting the problem via demand reduction.

“The war on drugs is like a tree. Kailangan tanggalin natin ang ugat ng puno (We need to address the root of the problem) – unemployment, lack of education, the family, lahat ito para mapababa natin ang demand (all of these so we could ensure a decrease in the demand for drugs),” Abalos said.

An offshoot of the previous BIDA ang may Disiplina Program, BIDA calls for the support of local government units, partner government agencies, local stakeholders, and organizations to effectively advocate drug demand reduction to all sectors of the community.

“We urge the different government agencies, the church, the school, private organizations, let us help one another on this war against drugs. Magtulungan tayo, lalo na ang kabataan. Magkaisa tayo. Labanan natin lahat ng (Let us work together, especially the youth. Let us be united. Let us fight all) social ills,” Abalos said.

“By raising awareness and encouraging participation from all sectors of the community in drug demand reduction, we can address the perennial problem of illegal drugs, which threatens peace and order and cause crimes in communities.”

Abalos said BIDA specifically aims to strengthen institutions in 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.

During the launch, a memorandum of undertaking on the BIDA program was signed by partner national agencies and key stakeholders. The event was a hybrid of face-to-face and teleconferencing.

The program was attended by DILG officials, local chief executives from the National Capital Region, and key stakeholders from the sectors of health, justice, national defense, finance, labor and employment, social welfare and development, foreign affairs, and education.

The heads of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the National Commission on Indigenous People, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) also graced the event.

The religious sector was represented by the heads of different churches and faith-based groups.

The heads of the League of Provinces of the Philippines, the League of Cities of the Philippines, the League of Municipalities, the Liga ng Mga Barangay, and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines also attended the program. (PNA)