ORMOC CITY – Interior and Local Government Secretary Atty. Benjamin Abalos, Jr. lauded and commended the efforts of Ormoc City Mayor Lucy Torres-Gomez and Leyte 4th District Representative Richard I. Gomez for their passion to keep Ormoc “drug-cleared”.

This, he said during the KONTRA DROGA: Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan (BIDA) Program rollout held at the Leyte Academic Center in Palo, Leyte on Wednesday, February 8, 2023.

The BIDA program is anchored on the commitment of the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to continue the fight against illegal drugs within the bounds of the law and with respect for human rights. It aims to reduce drug demand by empowering communities, engaging them in anti-illegal drug activities, and raising public awareness on the ill-effects of drugs to reduce drug proliferation and destigmatize drug addiction at the community level. Finally, the program aims to boost public awareness of various government efforts to combat the illegal drug problem.

During the said event, Mayor Gomez shared that their fight against illegal drugs was never an easy feat. “In the beginning, we had our fair share of challenges and ridicule. But it was all well worth it – for all Ormocanons, for my home city, for our communities, families, and friends,” the mayor shared.

Mayor Gomez also added that as mayor of Ormoc, she intends to build on the gains of her immediate predecessor so that the city can shine and reach its full potential, saying, “We do not take our peace lightly, but instead guard it steadfastly. We diligently watch out for growing weeds, and promptly nip drug-related problems at the bud.”

Mayor Gomez also said that there was a time when Ormoc was tagged as the drug capital of Region 8, and former Ormoc City Mayor, now Congressman Richard I. Gomez, took on the gargantuan task of building the foundation for progress in Ormoc City.

“Ormoc City was also a home for drug syndicates, criminals who were destroying the lives of our people. Those were dark times, and without peace,” she further said.

Meanwhile, Mayor Lucy, together with Sangguniang Panlungsod Member (SPM) Gregorio Yrastoza III, SPM Lalaine Marcos, SPM Atty. Jasper Lucero, SPM Peter Rodriguez, City Local Government Operations Officer (CLGOO) Jean Redi T. Briones, and Police Colonel (PCol) Nelvin Ricohermoso of the Ormoc City Police Office (OCPO) on the same day received a PHP 100,000 award for the city’s national recognition as a Drug-Cleared City for 2022, along with 14 other national awardees and 33 regional awardees. Accordingly, an estimated 2,500 people from local government units and partner government agencies attended the said event. By Gwen Maurillo (EV Mail Feb. 6-12, 2023 issue)