CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Dec. 7 – As the government continues its intensified whole-of-nation approach against illegal drugs, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)- 10, in partnership with Xavier University – Development Communication Department (XU-DevCom), launched the Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan (BIDA) program through an information drive at the Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS), this city.

Delivering an opening message in behalf of DILG 10 Regional Director Wilhelm M. Suyko, Assistant Regional Director Yvette Tolentino-Sunga said that the collaborative endeavor with the Development Communication students aimed to further promote and expand the reach of its flagship anti-drug campaign among the youth.

“This is a strategic approach because we believe that the best people who could relate and encourage the youth to do away with drugs are those also from the same sector themselves. Kabataan para sa Kabataan; estudyante para sa estudyante,” she emphasized.

ARD Sunga then added that there is still much work to do, urging the academe and the youth sector for a call to action. “By working together, pooling our resources, and building our strengths, we can accomplish great things,” she said.

The event commenced with in-depth discussions on the following topics: Abused Drugs in the Philippines and PDEA Operations on Identified Drug Offenders (PDEA); The Effects of Substance Abuse in the Body (DOH); and PNP Operations on Identified Drug Offenders and Penalties & Punishments (PNP). It was further elaborated during the open talk show with PDEA Agent Ramil C. Salido, Department of Health – Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (DOH – TRC) Dr. Crisbelle Anne Irag, and Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (COCPO) Patrolman Tito G. Sano III.

The activity also provided the students to showcase their creativity through a poster and slogan-making contest, contributing visually compelling and impactful messages to the cause.

Moreover, the Development Communication students also displayed their talents through creative radio broadcasting. Their presentations were not only recognized but also awarded for their excellence, adding a dynamic and interactive dimension to the awareness campaign.

Upscaling the campaign against illegal drugs

On September 13, The Department’s BIDA Program gained anti-illegal drugs advocates among the youth of Cagayan de Oro with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement with XU -Ateneo De Cagayan. Under the MOA, the DevCom students shall engage in the production of BIDA-related Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) materials such as Public Service Announcements (PSA), communication plan, posters, and infographic materials, all aligned with their program courses for the first semester of SY 2023-2024.

“We are very thankful to DILG-10 for this partnership as they gave us a platform to show to the community what we have been doing and what we are doing for the longest time in terms of communication programs and campaigns,” said Devcom Department Chair Rechelle Ann Barraquias in her closing remarks.

The information drive is one of the drug-demand reduction strategies of the BIDA program that aims to enlighten and educate students about the adverse effects of illegal drugs, fostering spirit of unity and shared responsibility and engaging the youth as partners in combating drug-related issues. As communities rally together under the banner of BIDA, a drug-free and safer future for the Philippines comes within reach.