About 3,000 youth anti-drug advocates joined the kickoff celebration of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (IDADAIT) in Balanga City, Bataan last Saturday, June 22.

Spearheaded by the Dangerous Drugs Board, Provincial Government of Bataan, and Department of Health Treatment and Rehabilitation Center Bataan, the celebration commenced with an opening program, followed by a fun run, and an anti-drug concert.

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Vice Governor Ma. Cristina M. Garcia, in her welcome address, thanked everyone present in the activity. “Your presence is a clear manifestation of your support to our cause. We approach the drug problem from two sides of the coin. As we strengthen and give “teeth” to our laws in apprehending drug perpetrators and hold them accountable for their illegal activities, we also see to it that the welfare and well-being of those victimized by their illegal activities are looked after,” she said.

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The DDB was represented by its Chairman Secretary Catalino Cuy, Permanent Board Member Undersecretary Benjamin Reyes, Executive Director Undersecretary Earl Saavedra, Deputy Executive Director for Operations Assistant Secretary Maria Belen Angelita Matibag, and Deputy Executive Director for Administration Assistant Secretary Walter Besas.

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Also gracing the event were DOH Regional Director Cesar Cassion and YouTube Vlogger Jericho Arceo.

In his message, DDB Chairman (Secretary) Cuy said that the activity aims to promote a healthy and drug-free lifestyle. He also said that the gathering will prove, “we can all have fun while creating awareness and spreading information on the ill effects of drugs.”

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Themed “Katarungan para sa Kalusugan, Kalusugan para sa Katarungan,” this year’s IDADAIT celebration was highlighted by the Color Bataan Free Season 3 and Rakrakan Against Drugs, a free anti-drug concert which featured Filipino bands and artists including Slapshock, Mayonnaise, Maryzark, Hollydaze and Fil-Am musician twins Jesse and Christian Perkins.

The DDB also calls on the participation of partner agencies and local government units across the country to mobilize anti-drug advocates in the nationwide observance of IDADAIT on June 26.

The IDADAIT is being observed internationally every June 26 based on the United Nations Resolution No. 42-112 signed in 1987, and in the Philippines based on the Proclamation No. 264 signed in 1988, “as an expression of the United Nations’ determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drugs.”