Puerto Princesa City marked the first anniversary of the “Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan” (BIDA), an anti-illegal drugs campaign initiative by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), with a celebration held at Balayong People’s Park on Saturday.

The event, showcasing the city’s unified stance against illegal drugs, was held on February 24 with a motorcade from the baywalk and a fun run starting from the PNP grounds. Participants included personnel from various law enforcement and government agencies, demonstrating an effort in combating drug abuse.

In a message delivered by City Administrator Atty. Arnel Pedrosa on behalf of Mayor Lucilo Bayron, the mayor extended his gratitude to the 66 Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs) for their support and contribution to the city’s Barangay Drug Clearing Program.

The celebration highlighted the government’s multi-faceted approach to the drug issue, focusing on prevention, vigilance, and rehabilitation.

The city’s strategy includes continuous information and education campaigns in schools and communities, engaging activities like mural paintings, dance challenges, fun rides, and motorcades to occupy the youth positively. April 2023 saw the launch of “TATAK (End Addiction, Friend) Puerto,” a local advocacy derived from the DILG’s BIDA Program, aiming to steer the community away from drug addiction.

Additionally, the establishment of three satellite police stations in mini city halls with dedicated vehicles for rapid police response has improved police visibility and community relations.

An important development was the inauguration of the Balay Silangan Reformation Center on February 23rd, aiming to reform drug offenders voluntarily surrendering to authorities.

City Information Officer Richard Ligad said the “facility represents more than a reformation center; it’s a beacon of hope for drug victims, offering a chance at a better life and future.”

Mayor Bayron also shared progress towards declaring Puerto Princesa a “drug-cleared city,” with ongoing documentation for the application to the Regional Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug Clearing (ROCBDC) led by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Regional Office.

Currently, 55 barangays in the city have been declared drug-cleared, and 11 have maintained their drug-free status.

The anniversary celebration was attended by prominent regional directors from NAPOLCOM MIMAROPA, PDEA MIMAROPA, PRO MIMAROPA, and DILG MIMAROPA, alongside representatives from the City Health Office – Community Based Rehabilitation Program (CHO-CBDRP), Balay Silangan Reformation Program, Puerto Princesa City Police Office (PPCPO), PDEA Palawan, and Puerto Princesa, all of whom play integral roles in the city’s Barangay Drug Clearing Program.