DAGUPAN CITY – A fun run participated in by about 12,000 here launched the “Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan” (BIDA) program of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) against illegal drugs on Sunday.
In a press conference, DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos said the BIDA program addresses the demand-reduction side in the war against illegal drugs through interventions.
He said this can be done by addressing the root cause and providing employment opportunities and education to the grassroots or communities.
“While the law enforcers do their job, we are addressing the demand. At the barangay (village) level alone, the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council already identified the users and pushers. If they want to change, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Labor and Employment would intervene,” he said.
He said to prevent younger people from being involved in illegal drug use, community sectors must strengthen their resolve to say no to harmful vices.
“Young people aged 15 to 25 are targets. It starts primarily through peers, through experimental drugs,” he added.
Abalos said BIDA can empower the youth through sports, arts, and culture.
BIDA, which started in October 2022, is a response to the order of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to strengthen the government’s anti-drug campaign by focusing on arresting drug lords, rehabilitating users and reducing demand.
Based on data, Abalos said 70 percent of those in jails are drug-related cases; 28 to 30 percent are repeat offenders; and 40 to 60 percent sadly return to rehabilitation centers.
Dagupan Mayor Belen Fernandez is hopeful that the city would soon be drug-cleared. (PNA)