DILG Sec. Abalos said instead of targeting drug addicts for death, the Bida Program will focus more on drug demand reduction and rehabilitation in the communities.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos said law enforcement, under the new anti drug campaign of the Marcos administration, will just come second after rehabilitation and reducing the demand for illegal drugs. This is a drastic change from the Duterte administration's bloody war on drugs, where mostly innocent and the poor were killed and jailed for illegal use while letting the bigtime pushers go scot free.
The "Buhay Ingatan, Droga'y Ayawan" (Bida, or Take Care of Life, Reject Drugs) program was introduced Saturday at the Quezon City Memorial Circle, with regional debuts taking place in Cebu City, Cagayan de Oro City, and Davao City.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Bida is a nationwide anti-illegal drugs advocacy program involving local governments, national government agencies and other key sectors of society that will focus more on drug demand reduction and rehabilitation in the communities, Inquirer reported.
Abalos argues that illegal drugs is a deep-seated issue and has continued in destroying relationships, families, and the prospects of young people. He believes that it is time for all sectors of society to take a position and contribute to the Bida program.
“We cannot put the campaign against illegal drugs fully in the hands of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) because all of us are affected here. We all need to take part in putting a stop to this plague that is destroying our young people,” Abalos said.
Since Marcos took office in July, the PNP's aggressive anti-illegal drug campaign has resulted in the confiscation of almost ₱9.7 billion worth of different illegal drugs and the arrest of 22,646 drug suspects around the country in 18,505 anti-illegal drug operations.
Under the Barangay Drug Clearing Program, the government's "whole-of-nation" strategy for addressing the problem of illegal drugs in the nation, a total of 26,244 barangays, or 62.42 percent of the total 42,046 barangays in the country, have been labeled as "drug-cleared."
In addition, compared to the 25,361 drug-cleared barangays that the Duterte administration last reported in June, this figure was 3.48 percent higher.
The ongoing drug war has claimed 46 lives in operations carried out from July to November, significantly less than the first five months of the Duterte administration. In addition, the alleged accused drug offenders, 32 perished during police operations, while 14 were killed by PDEA operatives.
Meanwhile, Abalos emphasized that a new strategy that operates "within the framework of the law, with regard for human rights, and with a focus on rehabilitation and socioeconomic development" is launched by the anti-drugs campaign under the Marcos administration.
He also said that the program will tap the best practices of local governments, government agencies and other partners in order to strengthen institutions for the implementation of drug-reduction activities, encourage multisectoral participation, secure commitments from national government agencies and partner organizations, and raise awareness through information, education and communication materials.
Further, local chief executives from the National Capital Region (NCR) are expected to read a unity statement to express their commitment to carry out the objectives of the Bida program in their respective jurisdictions, while representatives from different sectors of the society will also give a statement of support for the program.
The head of the DILG issued a directive to local governments on Thursday to create a local anti-drug plan of action that addresses the requirements of their communities at the barangay level.
“Our anti-illegal drugs campaign takes a whole-of-government approach, which would only be efficient if we are able to execute plans … down to the grassroots. It is imperative that our local governments work with us and draft their respective plans,” Abalos explained.
Under DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2022-141, dated Nov. 9, Abalos encouraged local chief executives to formulate their anti-drug plans within their first 200 days in office, specifying their anti-illegal drug programs and activities based on their localities’ drug situation.
Tags: #BidaProgram, #DILG, #DrugWarCampaign