ADVOCATES. The rebranded nationwide anti-drug program “Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan”is launched at the Xavier Ateneo Sports Centre in Cagayan de Oro City on Saturday (Nov. 26, 2022). It was participated in by local government units of Northern Mindanao, partner national government agencies, and key stakeholders. (Courtesy of DILG-X)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The local government here sees the increase in drug-free villages with the rebranded anti-drug campaign “Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan (BIDA)”.

During Saturday's Northern Mindanao leg launch of BIDA at Xavier Ateneo Sports Centre, Councilor Romeo Calizo said the previous administration's anti-drug policy resulted in 23 out of 80 villages being declared drug-free.

"We have followed the provisions of the Dangerous Drugs Act with PDEA-10 (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Northern Mindanao) supervising us in our quest to have a drug-free Cagayan de Oro City," Calizo said in an interview.

He expressed hoped that BIDA will be even more successful.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) leads the BIDA program which was launched simultaneously in other regions.

DILG-10 head Wilhelm Suyko urged the public to be BIDA advocates.

"The war on drugs is not yet over. That is why we are all here today to continue on manifesting our full extended support in our campaign against illegal drugs," he said.

In a video message, Mayor Rolando Uy said they will fully support the national program and address the root causes of drug addiction among the youth, specifically poverty and lack of access to education.

Mayor Edgar Lignes of El Salvador City in Misamis Oriental spoke on behalf of Governor Peter Unabia, who believes that reducing illegal-drug trade and addiction requires a whole-of-government approach.

"We need everybody's support. It would be a waste of government resources and efforts if our youth will be victims of drug addiction," he said.

BIDA was also launched at the Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City; Cebu Plaza Independencia, Cebu City; and People’s Park in Davao City.

"Sa ating lahat, ang hamon ay ugatin natin ang problema ng droga. Dito sa BIDA, hindi lang kapulisan at iba pang law enforcement units ang kikilos. Hanggang grassroots kasama natin dapat dito (For all of us, the challenge is to root out the drug problem. ([With] BIDA, it's not just the police and other law enforcement units that will act, we should be with the grassroots),” DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr. said during the launch in Quezon City.

The program targets drug demand reduction and rehabilitation of drug dependents in the community level.

Kung mayroon kang isang puno, gusto mong tanggalin ang sanga, putol ka nang putol ng sanga. Pero ang sanga, tubo nang tubo. Kung gusto mong tanggalin ang puno, ugatin mo, ugatin mo 'yung puno (If there is a tree, you cut the branches and you keep on cutting more branches to keep them from growing. If you want to cut the tree altogether, get rid of its roots. Target the roots)," Abalos said. (PNA)