DILG's flagship anti-drug drive bags award in Singapore

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

July 31, 2023, 1:30 pm

<p><em>(Photo courtesy of DILG)</em></p>

(Photo courtesy of DILG)

MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG)'s "Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan" (BIDA) Program bagged the international Government Media Awards for the National Social Welfare Initiative of the Year category in Singapore.
DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. virtually received the award during the rites held at the Conrad Centennial Singapore on July 24, the DILG said in a news release on Monday.

The Government Media Awards recognizes the most outstanding government projects and initiatives in the Asian region and is open to both government agencies and organizations, and companies supplying services or solutions to government projects.

Established through DILG Memorandum Circular 2023-025, the BIDA program is a holistic approach to counter the proliferation of illegal and dangerous drugs and aims to reduce drug demand and supply by empowering communities.

It is part of the prevention and promotion activities anchored on the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy (PADS).

Abalos said the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign has taken a new shift through the BIDA program as it is focused more on drug demand and supply reduction with the help of BIDA advocates and the different sectors of society.

“Hindi biro at mabigat ang problema natin sa iligal na droga kaya kailangang kumilos ang lahat para masugpo ito. Sa pamamagitan ng BIDA program, lahat tayo ay tulong-tulong kasama ang PNP (Philippine National Police), PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency), NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) at iba pang autoridad (Our problem with illegal drugs is difficult and it is serious, so everyone needs to take action to stop it. Through the BIDA program, all of us help each other with the PNP, PDEA, NBI and other authorities),” he said.

Launched across the country in November 2022 through various health and wellness events, BIDA gathered nearly a million participants supporting the program in various activities nationwide such as fun runs, service caravans, seminars, sports fest, tree planting, clean-up drive and barangay programs.

An estimated 31,000 stakeholders from various national government agencies, local government units, the private sector, faith-based sector, and civil society organizations have so far expressed support for the program.

To date, 13 out of the country's 16 regions have successfully conducted their BIDA program launch and more will be holding their BIDA activities throughout the year.

A total of 33 private organizations also signed a memorandum of undertaking (MOU) and pledged their support to the BIDA program through various modalities as the DILG launched the BIDA Workplace advocating for the implementation of the drug-free workplace in the private sector.

Highlighting the whole-of-society strategy in addressing the drug menace, the DILG partnered with the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and Premier Volleyball League (PVL) to intensify the information campaign against illegal drugs through the different sports leagues.

The campaign and advocacy efforts also complement the 14 drug-related operations of the PNP, from January to April 2023 alone resulting in the arrest of 19 drug personalities and the confiscation of PHP10-billion (around USD183 million)-worth of illegal drugs.

The BIDA program also highlights the essence of the rehabilitation of persons who use drugs (PWUDs) as more than half of the barangays and almost all municipalities and cities have already established their community-based drug rehabilitation programs (CBDRP).

As of December 2022, nearly a million drug surrenderers have participated in these programs.

In strengthening the involvement of LGUs in the BIDA program, the formulation of LGUs’ Local Anti-Drug Plan of Action (LADPA) also underscores the need to harmonize, systematize, and provide a budget allocation for all anti-illegal drug initiatives at the local level. Following the launch of the program, a total of 343 LGUs have already passed resolutions in the inclusion of the BIDA program in their respective LADPAs. (PNA)