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Gov’t fighting hard vs gravity of drug syndicate ops - Abalos

By Rhaydz B. Barcia

LEGAZPI CITY --- Interior and Local Government Secretary, Atty. Benjamin Abalos Jr., said that the Philippine government is fighting hard against the gravity of big-time drug syndicates down the grassroots operations across the country.

“The gravity of drug cases in the country is huge and these big drug syndicates affect the security of our family because there’s so much money and so many addicts on the road. Worst of all, drugs are even run by police and PDEA who sell drugs,” the DILG top official said.

The gravity of drugs in the country also mirrors the numbers of persons deprived of liberty (PDL) as 68 to 70 percent of the persons behind bars across the country are facing illegal drug cases, Abalos said. According to him, 30 percent of the PDL are recidivist drug users.

Abalos also underscored the importance of internal cleansing on PNP, Bureau of Fire Protection, and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology as this is very important including the local government units (LGUs) in the country down to the barangay officials.

BIDA. Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. says the cooperation of all concerned government agencies, in partnership with stakeholders and the community is crucial in realizing the goal of a drug-free community during a press conference at Camp Simeon Ola, Legazpi City in Albay province on Friday (Jan. 27, 2023). Abalos earlier led the launching of the “Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan (BIDA) program designed to reduce drug demand by empowering communities, engaging them in anti-illegal drug activities, and raising public awareness of the ill effects of drugs to reduce its proliferation and drug addiction at the community level. (PNA photo by Connie Calipay)

But Abalos is confident that the government will win the fight against drugs, he said during the press briefing held at PRO 5 Maringal Lounge, Camp General Simeon Ola in Legazpi City on Friday, January 27.

“The fight against illegal drugs is not the sole responsibility of the government. We need the support of the people to get rid of illegal drug operations. If we work together, we will not only fight this but we will win this fight against drugs,” Abalos said.

Abalos flew in Albay on Friday to grace the provincial and regional launching of the Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Iwasan (BIDA) program at Camp Simeon Ola, Legazpi City.

BIDA is an advocacy program designed to reduce drug demand through empowering communities, engaging them in anti-illegal drug activities, raising public awareness on the ill-effects of drugs to reduce drug proliferation and drug addiction at the community level.

As to the internal cleansing spearheaded by DILG czar through BIDA program, the national approach for national cleansing but not only the police, even other officials in the LGUs, Abalos said that the PNP and other enforcement agencies have a big role to play.

Since the internal cleansing scheme Abalos said that some P10 billion worth of illegal drugs were seized across the country during the first six months of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in office.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) apprehended over 30,000 drug suspects in 24,000 illegal drug operations, which include police officers and members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Abalos made the bold move demanding the cop officials to tender courtesy resignations from colonels and generals in the police force as part of the government’s efforts to cleanse its ranks and rebuild its reputation amid reports of the continued existence of “ninja cops”.

The ‘ninja cops’ refers to police officers involved in the illegal drug trade, usually by supposedly “recycling” confiscated drugs by selling them back on the street.

In Bicol, Police Brig. Gen. Rudolp Dimas told Abalos that the PNP regional command tapped the youth in its campaign against illegal drugs through the so called Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo (KKDAT)

Dimas said that the efficiency of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo (KKDAT) was also one of the most effective tools in combating illegal drugs.

At least 1,140 individuals joined the BIDA grand launching in Bicol on Friday despite heavy downpour here. The activity started with a unity walk, color fun bike, and fun ride which was participated by 1,140 individuals.

The launching was also attended by various national government agencies which include the Philippine Information Agency; Philippine Statistics Office; PhilHealth; Social Security System; Department of Information and Communications Technology; Department of Trade and Industry; Technical Education and Skills Development Authority; Department of Tourism; National Bureau of Investigation; Department of Social Welfare and Development; and Department of Environment and Natural Resources.


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