BIDA Program: DILG’s Whole-of-Nation Approach to Combat Illegal Drugs
In the last quarter of 2022, the Department of the Interior and Local Government launched its new anti-illegal drugs campaign, the “Buhay ay Ingatan, Droga ay Ayawan” (BIDA) Program, a more proactive and comprehensive approach that addresses the root causes of the recurring problem on illegal drugs. It is a nationwide anti-illegal drugs advocacy program that involves the Local Government Units, National Government Agencies, and all other key sectors of society. Practically, the abuse of illegal drugs is everybody’s business.
The program calls for nationwide participation from all sectors of the community to resiliently combat the use of illegal drugs by eliminating them through drug-demand reduction, rehabilitation, and effective community reintegration programs for every drug reformist. This program aims to pave the way for a multisectoral movement that will synchronously coordinate with one another towards a much more holistic anti-illegal drug approach that is designed to sustain the support to the smallest political unit of our communities, our barangays, as it makes good the crucial role in addressing the illegal drug problems in every community and consequently, in the entire country.
To answer the call for unity of President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Jr. in addressing national concerns, Attorney Benjamin C. Abalos, Jr., the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, led in the BIDA movement, with the full support of all drug enforcement agencies; the Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agencies, and National Bureau of Investigation.
The BIDA Program aims to empower every barangay in the country, being the grassroots in the government’s fight against illegal drugs. It recognizes the significant importance of the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) in the desire to having a drug-free Philippines. Equipping them with a significant and strong support system coming from relevant government agencies and other concerned law enforcement agencies is the prime ticket toward the collective desire for success.
With the commitment to serve the Filipino people, the Nation’s Peacekeeper under the leadership of Police General Rodolfo S. Azurin, Jr., supported the program which was being rolled out in every region across the country.
On November 26, 2022, the National Capital Region Police Office led by Police Brigadier General Jonnel C. Estomo, then NCRPO Regional Director, represented by the different Police Districts in Metro Manila, joined the BIDA Program Grand Launching at the Quezon City Memorial Circle. Leading the launching was SILG Atty. Benjamin C. Abalos, Jr. Also in attendance was Police Lieutenant General Rhodel O. Sermonia, the Deputy Chief PNP for Administration. Said event was simultaneously launched in three major clusters: the first one was in Quezon City for the Luzon Cluster; in Cebu City for the Visayas Cluster; and in Cagayan de Oro City for the Mindanao Cluster.
Following the cluster rollout were the regional rollouts.
On January 21, 2023, Region 5 launched the BIDA Program at the PRO 5 Multi-Purpose Hall in Camp General Simeon Ola in Legazpi City, Albay. This was attended by more or less one thousand participants from across the region, with at least 700 recorded individuals, who either have used drugs and surrenderers. This was followed by Region 4B on January 24 with Attorney Margarita N. Gutierrez, DILG Undersecretary for Plans, Public Affairs and Communication, being the Guest of Honor and Speaker.
Region 6 followed on January 31, 2023, which coincided with the region’s awarding of the 2022 Regional Anti-Drug Abuse Council (ADAC) Performance. Attended by different local government officials from the entire region, Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez, Victorias City Mayor and BIDA Ambassador was among them.
Region 1 launched the program On February 3, with Police Lieutenant General Rhodel O. Sermonia, the Deputy Chief PNP for Administration together with Police Brigadier General John C. Chua, Regional Director of PRO1.
In Mindanao, Region 10 followed on February 6, 2023, and on February 8, Region 8 followed, the rollout held at the Municipality of Palo in the province of Leyte. President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. expressed his support for the advocacy program, and reiterated that the fight against illegal drugs is a fight for all Filipinos. Region 4A was on March 3, 2023, and Region 3 on March 5, 2023.
Aside from these, Local Government Units also cascaded the BIDA Program in their respective provinces, cities, and municipalities. Among the first LGUs that have cascaded the BIDA Program were: the Isabela Province in Region 2, Mountain Province in the Cordillera Administrative Region, and the Sarangani Province in Region 12.