The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has announced it will work closely with big companies in the country to involve the private sector in the anti-drug campaign.
“We are coordinating with the different employers in the Philippines the big ones. And we are going to sign agreements with them as part of the BIDA Program,” said DILG secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr., referring to the government’s revitalized anti-drug drive dubbed “Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan (BIDA).”
Abalos said private companies will have their own anti-drug programs and policies that are in line with the BIDA Program’s goals. An example, he said, is the conduct of random drug testing of employees.
“If one is found to be positive we will let the company handle the matter and enforce appropriate sanctions such as suspension, dismissal, or they can order their employee to undergo rehabilitation,” said the DILG chief.
“Just imagine if all companies do this, our country will definitely be clean and we will win the fight against drugs,” he added.
According to Abalos, the “BIDA Workplace” was inspired by the good collaboration between the government and the private sector during the pandemic, particularly in the implementation of COVID-19 testing.
“We will bring this good association to the fight against drugs. We will encourage large companies to take part in this fight. Because of our BIDA Program, every sector, every individual has an important role– that’s our whole-of-nation approach,” he said.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recently signed an agreement with the DILG to strengthen the community-based drug rehabilitation (CBDR) and the BIDA program.
BIDA is a nationwide anti-illegal drugs advocacy program involving local government units (LGUs), national government agencies (NGAs), and other key sectors of the society that will focus more on drug demand reduction and rehabilitation in the communities.
It was also described as “whole-of-nation” approach againsttrafficking of illegal substances and bring to justice the people behind the drug menace.
In November, Abalos vowed that his agency will enforce the law and fill the jails with people involved in the illegal drug trade.
On the other hand, for those who want to turn over a new leaf, Abalos assured the government is ready to help them through drugrehabilitation and livelihood training programs to help them lead productive and drug-free lives.