USAPANG BIDA TACKLES ANTI-DRUG STRATEGIES AT GUIMARAS’ GRASSROOTS LEVEL

Various sectors gathered to discuss strategies to strengthen the fight against illegal drugs at the grassroots level in the Province of Guimaras during Usapang Bida on June 27, 2024 at Guimaras Mountain Resort, Piña, Municipality of Buenavista.

The activity spearheaded by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in partnership with the Provincial Government of Guimaras (PGG), was part of the implementation of Sagipin Lahat para sa Bayan – Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan (SALBA-BIDA) program of the DILG.

Representatives from national government agencies, Provincial Government of Guimaras, five municipalities, punong barangays, civil society organizations, Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), and private sector participated in the multi-sectoral forum that aims to address drug abuse concerns in the province. Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Mario L. Iringan, underscored the importance of strengthening the fight against illegal drugs at the grassroots level. He said that barangay officials, including the SK, have crucial roles as they know the people in their barangay. Also, he noted that based on available data, the number of young people involved in illegal drugs is increasing.

“The war on drugs can only be won through the hearts of each and every one of us. The war on drugs can be won in the household level, and in the barangay level. Kritikal ang role ng mga barangay officials dito lalong-lalo na ‘yong ating mga punong barangays. Alam po natin ang nangyayari sa ating barangay. Responsibilidad natin na kilalanin ang mga tao sa ating barangay at karakter nila but, most importantly, we must be a good example sa mga constituents natin sa barangay,” Usec. Iringan said.

He added that although law enforcement agencies are doing their duty, the fight against illegal drugs can only be won through everyone’s commitment. “While the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the National Bureau of Investigation, and other security organs of the government are doing their responsibilities, sa aming tantiya ay hindi sapat iyon nang sa ganoon ay magapi natin ‘yong illegal drugs sa ating komunidad. So, ang sinasabi ni Secretary Abalos, ang laban sa illegal drugs should be whole of nation, whole of government approach. It should address both supply reduction and demand reduction. Meaning, habang ‘yong ating mga kapulisan, NBI, PDEA ay nagpupursige na hulihin lahat ng mga drug personalities – mga drug pushers, drug users, at mga drug lords, tayo naman na sibilyan ay gagawin ang lahat nang sa ganoon ma-address natin ‘yong demand reduction,” he elaborated.

Police Col. Rhea Santos, director, Guimaras Police Provincial Office, urged all stakeholders in the fight against illegal drugs to support the BIDA program. “Illegal drug problem is a deep-seated issue that has continued to destroy relationships, families, and the future of the youth and it is high time for all sectors of the society to make a stand and do their part through the BIDA program,” Col. Santos said.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Guimaras Provincial Officer IA V David Mark Maramba gave a briefer on the anti-illegal drug situation in the province where he stressed that all barangays in Guimaras were already declared drug-cleared. Guimaras Vice Governor Atty. John Edward G. Gando, DILG Region 6 Assistant Regional Director Maria Calpiza Sardua, DILG-Guimaras Provincial Director Roselyn Quintana, CESO V also graced the event.