By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday touted 2023 as a prolific year for the Marcos administration’s anti-drug efforts.

This as the government’s flagship anti-drug program “Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan” (BIDA) has reached 15 regions and drew 230,000 people who participated in its activities and other initiatives, DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. said in a news release.

“Sa nakalipas na taon, naging bagong mukha ng kampanya kontra iligal na droga ang ating BIDA Program (For the past year, the BIDA Program became the new face of our campaign against illegal drugs). Thanks to your efforts, we have conducted BIDA Fun Runs, training programs, Serbisyo Caravans, and other BIDA activities in 15 regions across the country involving various sectors,” Abalos said.

Abalos said the DILG forged strategic partnerships with different sectors to promote the BIDA Program and raise awareness about the ill effects of illegal drugs.

They also had tie-ups with more than 30 big business establishments through the “BIDA Workplace” initiative.

Recognizing sports as an effective means to encourage people, especially the youth, to ditch illegal drugs, the DILG also linked up with major sports leagues in the country such as the Philippine Basketball Association, Premier Volleyball League, and University Athletic Association of the Philippines.

Aside from working with athletes, the DILG also tapped some of the country’s up-and-coming entertainment stars from ABS-CBN and GMA to become BIDA ambassadors.

Major cinemas, such as SM Cinemas and Megaworld Lifestyle Malls also played the program’s ads before the start of every movie to encourage the public to join the government in combating illegal drugs.

“We are definitely off to a good start. We were able to bring the spirit of BIDA down to our communities in just over a year since its launch. Asahan po ninyo na magpapatuloy at lalo pang palalakasin ang kampanyang ito sa tulong ng iba’t ibang sektor ng lipunan (Rest assured that we will continue our efforts and further strengthen this campaign through the help of various sectors of society),” Abalos added. (PNA)