New campaign focuses on rehab, prevention in more holistic approach
The Marcos administration on Saturday launched its anti-illegal drugs advocacy program called Buhay Ay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan (BIDA), describing it as an intensified and more holistic campaign from the grassroots up.
While Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. vowed to put drug dealers behind bars, BIDA is anchored on physical activities and cooperation from the grassroots level to deter drug use and protect human lives.
“We will enforce the law and fill the jails with people like you who destroy the future of the youth and the families,” Abalos warned drug pushers and dealers before thousands of supporters who attended the grand launching at the Quezon Memorial Circle.
But for those who want to turn over a new leaf, Abalos assured the government is ready to help them through drug rehabilitation and livelihood training programs to help them lead productive and drug-free lives.
“Let’s work together, that’s what we ask. Life is truly worth living.
Say no to drugs and let’s all be heroes against illegal drugs,” he said.
Thousands of attendees from different barangays and churches from Metro Manila flocked to Quezon Memorial Circle to participate in the zumba and walkathon, as early as 5 a.m.
The BIDA program will involve local government units, national government agencies, and other key sectors of society aside from drug enforcement agencies, Abalos said.
The Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and other agencies will aim for drug demand reduction and rehabilitation in communities, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said in a statement.
Abalos said the drug problem must be addressed from the roots.
“We must harness the support of the grassroots, the schools, the community, the church, everyone. And that’s what we intend to do in our fight against illegal drugs,” he said.
BIDA was also described as “whole-of-nation” approach against trafficking of illegal substances and bringing to justice the people behind the drug menace.
The DILG chief said the key to the program’s success is the support of the communities and the people themselves, who should reject and say no to illegal drugs and report the drug activities in their areas to the authorities.
This is a 180-degree turn from the anti-narcotics campaign of former President Rodrigo Duterte, whose drug war killed thousands and was marked by alleged human rights violations.
Abalos said the drug war under the current administration must be hinged on human rights and the Constitution.
The DILG earlier announced that some P9.7 billion worth of illegal drugs were confiscated by the police and other law enforcement agencies since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. assumed office in July this year.
The authorities conducted 18,505 anti-narcotics operations which also resulted in the arrest of 22,646 individuals engaged in drug dealing, and other illegal activities during that period.