(Photo courtesy of PNP)

MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr,. has hailed the strong partnership of the police force and communities in Western Visayas, particularly in combatting the illegal drug menace.

Azurin made the remark as he joined the "Lakad Laban sa Droga" at the Iloilo Esplanade 1 Extension and Skateboard Park, Mandurriao district in Iloilo City on Wednesday.

The fun walk activity was organized by Police Regional Office (PRO) 6 led by its chief, Brig. Gen. Leo Francisco, and was actively participated by thousands of volunteers from various civic society organizations, advocacy support groups, non-government organization and the religious sector.

Bilang ama ng ating Pambansang Pulisya ay nais ko pong ipabatid ang aming pagpapahalaga at taos pusong pasasalamat sa inyong walang sawang pagtulong at pagsuporta sa ating kapulisan sa kampanya kontra iligal na droga sa bansa (As the father of our National Police, I would like to convey our appreciation and sincere gratitude for your tireless assistance and support to our police in the campaign against illegal drugs in the country),” Azurin said in his message.

Azurin also recognized the efforts and cooperation of all members of Anti-Drug Abuse Councils of different provinces in the region to ensure the sustainability of the implementation of programs such as the newest BIDA Program (Buhay ay Ingatan, Droga'y Ayawan) of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The country’s top cop enjoined the community to support the nation’s anti-illegal drugs campaign which is designed to reduce drug demand through empowering communities, engaging them in anti-illegal drug activities, raising public awareness of the ill effects of drugs to reduce drug proliferation and drug addiction at the community level.

Sa ilalim ng pamumuno ng ating mahal na Pangulong Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., ang kampanya kontra iligal na droga ay ating itataguyod at patuloy na pagtutuunan ng pansin kasabay ng iba pa nating programa laban sa kriminalidad, kurapsyon, terorismo, insurhensiya, pang-aabuso at marami pang iba (Under the leadership of our dear President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., the campaign against illegal drugs will be promoted and will continue to be focused on along with our other programs against criminality, corruption, terrorism, insurgency, abuse and many more),” said Azurin.

He also rallied public servants and community leaders in the region to help sustain the gains of the anti-drug campaign.

“By coming together as one community and taking a stand against illegal drugs, we are sending a powerful message that we are committed to creating a brighter, and healthier future for all,” he said.

DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. earlier said the BIDA program campaign is in line with the President'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. (PNA)