ILOILO City – Eight thousand five hundred (8,500) men and women exhibited solid and strong show of support against the proliferation of illegal drugs as they took part in the BIDA Rise for Drugs and Run Against Drugs on April 20, 2024 here.

The activity, spearheaded by the Iloilo City Government, in partnership with the DILG Region 6 and DILG Iloilo City, was part of the implementation of the Buhay Ingatan Droga’y Ayawan (BIDA) Program of the DILG.

DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos, Jr. was among the 8,500 runners who answered the call to amplify public awareness on the negative consequences of illegal drugs. In his message prior to the run, he explained the BIDA program objectives and strategies, and called for the support of the barangays on the campaign.

Also joining the thousands of participants were Atty. Lord A. Villanueva, Undersecretary for Operations; Rolando C. Puno, Assistant Secretary for Communications and External Affairs; Debie T. Torres, CESO IV, Director, Bureau of Local Government Supervision (BLGS); DILG Region 6 Director Juan Jovian E. Ingeniero, CESO IV; DILG Iloilo Province Director Carmelo F. Orbista, CESO V; and DILG Iloilo City Director Oscar T. Lim, Jr., CESO V.

Personnel of the DILG Regional Office 6 and DILG Iloilo City, which partnered with the Iloilo City government for the activity, came in full force. Personnel from the DILG Iloilo Province also participated in the run.

The fun run started and finished at Plaza Libertad, Iloilo City.

This continued campaign on BIDA aims to raise awareness and support of stakeholders on addressing illegal drug problems.

Usapan sa Barangay

To further advance the goal of the BIDA Program which is Drug-Free Communities by 2028, an activity entitled Usapang Barangay was also conducted. This is a multi-sectoral dialogue guided by the principles of townhall meetings which aims to provide a safe space for dialogue among stakeholders in the community, specifically for Iloilo City.
For this particular activity, discussions were focused on addressing the drug abuse concerns in Iloilo City. The activity specifically aims to identify issues and gaps in implementing illegal drugs programs and identify key strategies in addressing concerns on drug abuse/use in Iloilo City.

According to SILG Abalos, solutions shall be provided to the grassroots addressing the different problems and situations on illegal drugs, “We will fill-in the gaps…we will go grassroots, kasi iba-iba ang problema ng Iloilo in different areas,” Abalos said.

This activity employed a discussion-workshop method which was participated by representatives of the key players in Iloilo City namely Liga ng mga Barangay Sangguniang Kabataan Federation Members from the local government units; from the national government agencies were the Regional Management and Coordinating Committee members (PNP, BFP, BJMP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Health (DOH), and Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD); and from the private sector were the Homeless People’s Organizations Philippines, Inc. and the Signpost Philippines, Inc.
Highlight of the activities were the presentation of the Iloilo City Police Office of the peace and order situation in Iloilo City emphasizing the anti-illegal drug activities. The PDEA Iloilo City gave a briefer on the drug situation in the region highlighting the status of Iloilo City. PBGen Arnel Amor B Libed, Deputy Director, Police Community Relations, discussed the Revitalized Pulis sa Barangay (RPSB) program which is a program wherein the PNP will assign RPSB-BIDA Teams to the identified focused barangays with problems on illegal drugs.
Following the presentation, a workshop was conducted to identify concerns in the implementation of programs addressing drug problems in Iloilo City. Participants grouped into four (4) clusters. Based on the results of the workshop, there is a need for the agencies, local government units, and other stakeholders first, strictly implement the policies related to anti-drug abuse; and, secondly, complement the key stakeholders with capacity development interventions to be able to properly support the policy implementation. The following are the key strategies in addressing the issues on illegal drugs in Iloilo City: 1) Increase capacity, information and empowerment of the key stakeholders; 2) Increase Safety and Security Measures; 3) Availability of Sustainable Rehabilitation and Reintegration Programs; 4) Exploratory Research on the Establishment of Centralized Database on Plea- Bargaining Agreements (PDEA, PNP, and DOJ); and 5) Continued Dialogue with Stakeholders and Partnership or Linkage Building.

Participation of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the monitoring activities was also suggested in order to complement the needed human resources by the LGUs and the Regional Line Agencies (RLAs).

Aside from the recommended interventions identified by the different sectors to achieve the goal of BIDA, it is imperative to continue and sustain the whole-of-the nation efforts to fight illegal drugs such as conduct of operations of the law enforcement agencies, health promotion, drug demand reduction education campaigns, rehabilitation and reintegration activities.