DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday said it is encouraging the public to become advocates of its "BIDA" anti-drug program to help put an end to the country’s illegal drugs problem.

This as the government will launch its new anti-drug advocacy program dubbed as "BIDA" or "Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan" in Quezon City and other key areas on Saturday.

Samahan n’yo kami at lumahok sa grand launch ng BIDA Program! Lahat tayo ay dapat kumilos na at maging bida laban sa iligal na droga. Sa ating mga kamay nakasalalay ang isang magandang bukas para sa ating mga kabataan na malaya sa salot ng droga (Join us in the grand launch of the BIDA Program! Let us all work together and be the prime movers in the fights against illegal drugs. The bright future of our youth that is free from illegal drugs is in our hands),” Abalos said in a statement.

BIDA Program is a nationwide anti-illegal drugs advocacy program involving local government units, national government agencies, and other key sectors of society that will focus more on drug demand reduction and rehabilitation in the communities underscoring the role of drug enforcement agencies including the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, National Bureau of Investigation and others.

Abalos said the illegal drug problem is a deep-seated issue that has continued to destroy relationships, families and the future of the youth, adding that it is high time for all sectors of society to make a stand and do their part through the BIDA program.

Since President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. assumed office in July this year, the PNP’s aggressive campaign against illegal drugs resulted in the confiscation of some PHP9.7 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 said the President is expected to lead the Metro Manila launch of the BIDA program at the Quezon City Memorial Circle in Quezon while regional launches will be held in Cebu City, Cagayan de Oro City and Davao City. (PNA)