ASSISTANT Secretary for Barangay Affairs Roosque Calacat of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) urged the City Government of Bacolod to issue an executive order to form a Task Group (TG) on Mamamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Iligal na Droga (Masa Masid).

Masa Masid, a community-based program for the prevention of corruption, illegal drugs, and criminality in barangays, was launched at the Bacolod Arts and Youth Sports Center (Bays) Center Tuesday, in the presence of about 100 barangay officials, policemen and other law enforcers, and volunteers.

Calacat was joined by Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, Councilor Ricardo Tan, DILG-Bacolod Officer-In-Charge Carmelo Orbista, Senior Superintendent Jack Wanky, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Regional Director Roselyn Borja, DILG Local Government Monitoring and Evaluation Division head Maria Nove Mejica, and Clarence Santibañez of Ikthus Bacolod.

He said the City Government should form a Masa Masid task group to ensure compliance with DILG Memorandum Circular 2016-116 and provide funds for its implementation.

Under DILG Memorandum Circular 2016-116, the program has four main thrusts, including information and education campaign in communities for government programs against corruption, illegal drugs and criminality; creation of a reporting mechanism on illegal drugs-related activities; formulation of community-based rehabilitation programs; and revive the spirit of volunteerism by creating a volunteer-friendly atmosphere for organizations that wish to be partners for change.

Calacat said Masa Masid is more on giving back life and they are asking the people to help heal the broken spirit of the drug victims.

"We are more concerned now with the biggest portion of the users who are occasionally drug users. We should help them and support the community based rehabilitation program," he said.

He added that they will tap retired professionals and volunteers who are willing to help the anti-drug campaign of the government.

Masa Masid is envisioned to unite different organizations in creating safer and drug-free communities in the country.

Calacat also encouraged the City Government to direct the barangay officials to strengthen their respective Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils, and also the City Peace and Order Council to make Bacolod a drug-free city.

Familiaran said the Masa Masid program is a collaboration between the local government units, Philippine National Police, barangay officials, and the constituents.

"Without the cooperation of the public this would be useless," he said, adding that most of the barangays in Bacolod are drug-affected.

Familiaran admitted that they are facing difficulty build a rehabilitation center to accommodate the drug users.

Tan said the Masa Masid program is a very appropriate and timely.

"We should rally behind President Duterte in his campaign against illegal drugs since this is a huge task. I know how difficult and widespread this problem is, but together we can win this war," he added.