Iloilo City to hold fun run vs illegal drugs today

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The city government of Iloilo, in collaboration with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), is intensifying its campaign against illegal drugs with a BIDA RISE and RUN event scheduled for 5 a.m. today, April 20.

More than 11,400 participants, including DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos, are set to join the 5-kilometer run, according to the city government.

The fun run will start from City Hall at Plaza Libertad to Fort San Pedro, Parola, Muelle Loney, Grand Xing Hotel, Iznart Street, J.M. Basa Street, and back to Plaza Libertad.

“This is the city’s advocacy against illegal drugs. We RISE against drugs, and we RUN from drugs. We anchored this on the BIDA or Buhay Ingatan Druga’y Ayawan Program of the DILG — a holistic approach in countering the proliferation of illegal and dangerous drugs,” Mayor Jerry Treñas said.

The undertaking will be participated by 180 barangays, Sangguniang Kabataan, Persons Who Use Drugs, government employees, and personnel of law enforcement agencies, among others.

The BIDA Program is DILG’s flagship anti-illegal drugs campaign launched in 2023.

“This program is an advocacy of the local government units and the barangay in the campaign against the illegal drugs. The program focuses on the pillars of prevention, law enforcement, prosecution, correction, rehabilitation, wellness and integration,” said DILG City Director Oscar Lim Jr.

Lim is an awareness program to show that drugs are not welcome in Iloilo City and its 180 barangays, recalling the time when it was called the country’s “most shabulized” city and the “bedrock of illegal drugs.”

The label was made by former president Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 during the administration of Mayor Jed Mabilog, who was alleged to have links to the illegal drugs trade.

Lim further clarified that while most apprehensions of illegal drugs occur in Iloilo City, it does not signify that the city is a haven for drugs but rather reflects the city police force’s ‘aggressive” stance in the anti-narcotics campaign.

“They are aggressive because most of the people, especially in the barangay level, are very cooperative in giving information related to illegal drugs,” he added.

According to Lim, 94 barangays out of the 180  have already been declared drug-cleared but noted that drug-clearing operations for the remaining barangays have been sluggish due to challenges with the constantly changing requirements.