With over 350 college students in attendance—the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Region 3, in partnership with President Ramon Magsaysay State University (PRMSU) and the Provincial Government of Zambales—successfully conducted its first-ever Buhay Ingatan, Droga'y Ayawan" (BIDA) Symposium on October 12, 2023, held at the University Gym, PRMSU, Iba Campus.
Aside from the DILG, representatives from the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police (PNP), and Department of Health (DOH) shared invaluable insights concerning the intricacies of illegal drugs, pertinent laws, and terminologies involved in the implementation of drug-demand reduction activities.
Dr. Lilian F. Uy, PRMSU Vice President for Academic Affairs, extended a warm welcome to the students and distinguished guests. She expressed her gratitude to all stakeholders for their efforts in organizing an event aimed at the youth to prevent illegal drug use, fostering anti-drug education, and creating a safe space for students.
LGOO VII Lerrie S. Hernandez, Monitoring and Evaluation Division Chief, provided an in-depth overview of the BIDA Program. She elaborated on its objectives, activities, and programs designed to equip the community, particularly the youth, with the knowledge and information necessary to comprehend the dire consequences of illegal drugs. The program also seeks to provide potential interventions and support for student leaders in their advocacy for a drug-free Central Luzon while planning a series of ongoing activities in collaboration with the DILG, the Provincial Government, and the State University to help young people combat illegal drugs.
DILG Zambales Provincial Director Martin Porres B. Moral, emphasized the pivotal role of the youth in this endeavor. "I wholeheartedly agree that (still) "ang kabataan ay ang pag-asa ng bayan". "This passage will continuously strengthen our actions toward the goals of this symposium, which will remain the cornerstone of the drug control system. The Memorandum of Understanding is not only a pact among the agencies but also contains the next steps of strengthening law enforcement and management", he added.
One of the highlights of the event is the Ceremonial Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with the DILG, Provincial Government, and PRMSU to seal their partnership and commitment to advocate for the BIDA Program.
This first-ever symposium activity 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 self-discipline among them while engaging the youth as partners in combating drug-related issues within the community.