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BIDA Program: Empowering Communities, Humanely Eradicating Drugs

Following President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.'s inspiring second State of the Nation Address (SONA), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has taken bold strides to tackle one of the nation's most pressing issues - the scourge of illegal drugs.

Embarking on a groundbreaking journey, the DILG launched the "Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan" or the BIDA Program, a multisectoral campaign aimed at reducing drug demand in communities. By uniting national government agencies (NGAs), local government units (LGUs), private sectors, faith-based organizations (FBOs), and civil society organizations (CSOs), the BIDA Program signifies a collective commitment to address this challenge holistically.

During a Post SONA Discussions on Good Governance, Peace, and Security Para sa Mapayapa (For a Peaceful), Ligtas (Safe) at Maayos (and Orderly) na Bagong Pilipinas (New Philippines) on Thursday, July 26, held at the Hilton Hotel Manila in Pasay City, DILG Undersecretary for Local Government Marlo L. Iringan emphasized the importance of proper delineation of responsibilities at the LGU level.

"Taking our cue from the President and be faithful with our mission, which is to ensure our mission order in Public Safety and Security, the DILG came up with the flagship program on anti-legal drugs Campaign which covers both supply reduction and demand reduction," Usec. Iringan said.

The DILG's recommendations aimed to empower LGUs in taking ownership of specific functions aligned with their capabilities and technological expertise. By doing so, the BIDA Program can foster a more efficient and focused approach to local governance, enabling each LGU to maximize its potential in the fight against illegal drugs.

Usec. Iringan also unveiled the Three Pillars of BIDA. The BIDA Program, a brainchild of the DILG, sets the stage for a comprehensive campaign against illegal drugs with a three-pronged approach:

1. Prevention and Health Promotion
The BIDA Program understands that prevention is the first line of defense in any battle. To tackle the menace of illegal drugs, the initiative places a strong emphasis on preventive measures and health promotion. By fostering anti-drug education at every level - from national programs to local barangay activities and school events - the BIDA Program aims to empower individuals with knowledge, fortifying communities from within.

2. Law Enforcement
In partnership with agencies such as the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the BIDA Program reinforces the country's law enforcement efforts against illegal drugs. Striving to curb drug trafficking and usage, the initiative ensures that the rule of law prevails, and human rights are upheld in every operation.

3. Penology Reintegration and Rehabilitation
Recognizing the importance of compassion and second chances, the BIDA Program focuses on rehabilitating individuals struggling with drug addiction. Through comprehensive support systems, including education, vocational training, and counseling, the initiative empowers those seeking to reintegrate into society, offering them a fresh start on the path to a drug-free life.

Malabon City Mayor Jeannie Sandoval (C) and San Juan City Mayor (R) join DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos during the simultaneous nationwide launch of the BIDA Program in Manila. (Photo courtesy: DILG)

During the grand launch of the BIDA Program at Rizal Park Hotel in Manila City in 2022, DILG Secretary Atty. Benjamin C. Abalos Jr. reiterated the need for collective action in reducing drug demand. The program's success relies on active participation from all sectors, including LGUs, Barangay Anti-Drug Councils (BADACs), local institutions, churches, CSOs, and individuals.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the DILG, along with NGAs, LGUs, FBOs, and CSOs, symbolizes a unified front against illegal drugs. This document aims to coordinate efforts, provide technical assistance, and develop information, education, and communication (IEC) materials, facilitating a more comprehensive and coordinated campaign.

Continued Efforts Against Illegal Drugs

During the event, Secretary Abalos recognized the relentless efforts of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in combating the illegal drug trade. A series of successful anti-illegal drugs operations led to the arrest of drug personalities and the confiscation of illegal drugs, valued at over P1.8 billion since July 1, 2022. The Secretary acknowledged these achievements but acknowledged that the battle is far from over, emphasizing the importance of sustained action to eradicate the drug menace completely.

Secretary Abalos also celebrated the declaration of over 24,000 barangays as drug-free since 2016, a testament to the dedication and hard work of the PNP in implementing anti-illegal drug measures. While progress has been made, the DILG chief acknowledged that 11,000 barangays still struggle with illegal drug use, highlighting the need for continued efforts to protect and empower communities.

(Photo courtesy: DILG)

Uniting Forces for a Drug-Free Nation

The launch of the BIDA Program marks a defining moment in the nation's war against illegal drugs. With a targeted approach to local governance, a three-pronged strategy encompassing prevention, law enforcement, and rehabilitation, and a collective commitment from all sectors, the BIDA Program embodies the spirit of unity and shared responsibility. As communities rally together under the banner of BIDA, a drug-free and safer future for the Philippines comes within reach. With resilience, determination, and compassion, the nation stands ready to overcome this challenge and pave the way for a better and brighter tomorrow. (PIA-NCR)

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Jerome Carlo Paunan



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