PALO, Leyte – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is upbeat about ending the drug menace in the country with the intensified and more holistic campaign of the current administration against illegal drugs.
During the regional rollout here of the Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan (BIDA), DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos, Jr. said the key to successful illegal drugs demand reduction is a collective action focused on the grassroots while targeting not only rehabilitation but also prevention by fostering anti-drug education at every level, from national programs to village activities and school events.
Abalos said the program is a response to the call of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to strengthen the government's anti-drug campaign by focusing on arresting the drug lords, rehabilitating the users, and reducing the demand.
“It is not only about supply reduction but also about demand reduction that is very important here. We must make our youth more productive so they will not resort to drug use. Let’s make them busy through sports and cultural activities,” Abalos said.
He also urged village officials to help address the problem since they are the first to know who are engaged in illegal drugs in their community.
The official acknowledged that the illegal drug problem is very serious considering that 70 percent of persons deprived of liberty nationwide are facing drug-related charges.
From July 1 to mid-December 2022, some PHP10 billion worth of illegal drugs have been seized by authorities from personalities with some of them getting protection from ranking police officials.
“This is why I requested the resignation of police generals and colonels. There are only a few police officials involved in illegal drugs, but we cannot tolerate them,” he added.
The BIDA campaign has earned support from local government officials in the region who attended the rollout at the Leyte Academic Center Gymnasium here.
Present during the event are Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla, Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone, Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan, Southern Leyte Governor Damian Mercado, several mayors, national government officials, village officials, youth groups, and students.
The governors presented some of their initiatives to combat illegal drugs in their respective provinces.
During the event, the DILG also recognized the drug-cleared provinces, cities, and towns in the region, including areas with functioning anti-drugs advisory council.
The BIDA program underscores the continued intensity of the government's war against drugs through the operations of the Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, National Bureau of Investigation, and other agencies within the framework of the law, with respect for human rights, and complemented by rehabilitation and socioeconomic development. (PNA)