Economic growth and lasting peace can never be achieved while illegal drug use and trafficking are prevalent in the country, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said on Thursday.

The labor chief made the statement during the Tunay na Pagbabago rally at Plaza Miranda in support of the programs of the administration. The secretary added that the public should continue to support President Duterte's programs, such as the war on illegal drugs.

The public should be able to realize by now how massive is the drug problem in the country. I hope the people could show their support to our President instead of criticizing him for his actions, Bello said.

Apart from pledging support, the labor chief added that Filipinos should join hands, unite and partner with the government in eradicating illegal drug use and trafficking in the Philippines.

Bello also said the youth who participate in public protests should be respected as it is their right and privilege to exercise their freedom of expression.

We respect the rights of the youth to show their feelings and advocacies. We respect that, and we encourage them to be more vigilant, he added.

Bello also urged his colleagues in the government to continue and intensify their efforts to resolve drug prevalence, criminality, corruption, and other significant issues to achieve lasting peace for the country.

Source: Department Of Labor and Employment Republic of Philippines