Marcos administration launches new anti-drug campaign, vows new focus

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 26) The government on Saturday formally launched its new anti-drug campaign that seeks to shift focus to demand reduction and rehabilitation in communities.

The Buhay Ingatan, Droga'y Ayawan (BIDA) program will likewise zero in on issues at the grassroots level, according to the Interior Department.

"Maraming nagtatanong sa 'kin, ano ang pagkakaiba nito sa ibang campaign? Ang problema ng droga ay parang puno… kaliwa't kanan ang huli ever since. Pero ang nangyayari, may pumapalit lang," Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos said during the event.

"Kaya nga kailangan natin dito, hindi lang ang panghuli. Tulungan ng buong bayan. Ugatin natin ang problema… Down to the grassroots," he added.

[Translation: A lot of people ask, how is this different from other campaigns? The drug problem is like a tree. Arrests happen ever since, but the reality is, some other people take their place. That's why we need more than that. It's a whole of nation approach, down to the grassroots.]

"BIDA" is a nationwide advocacy program that will tap local government units and other key sectors for a more refined approach to the anti-drug drive.

Abalos said other agencies — including the Social Welfare, Health, and Trade Departments — will also help with the rehabilitation and with livelihood projects.

President Bongbong Marcos previously said he will continue the Philippines' war on drugs, which was first launched by his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte in 2016. However, the chief executive repeatedly noted that his administration's campaign will take a different route, focusing more on prevention.

The latest government data showed over 6,000 have died since the drug war started six years ago.