TO RAISE awareness about “Operation Tokhang” and to regain public trust, the Philippine National Police (PNP) distributed flyers about its anti-drug campaign and flowers to commuters at the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Cubao station on Wednesday, Valentine’s Day.
“Tokhang is not a bad word. Alam natin na in so many months, nagkaroon ng other meaning but the true meaning of that is good meaning para po pakiusapan yung ating kababayan na go away from drugs,” Senior Supt. Bartolome Bustamante, deputy director of PNP Police Community Relations Group (PCRG), told reporters.
( . . . We know that in so many months, the word took on another meaning but the true meaning is a good one so that we can ask our countrymen to stay away from drugs.)
Tokhang, a Cebuano term derived from “Tokhang-Hangyo,” means knocking on a drug suspect’s door and pleading to them to surrender to police.
Human rights advocates have criticized the PNP’s implementation of Operation Tokhang amid the rise in the number of extrajudicial killings.
PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa said Operation Tokhang was “bloodless” in spirit.
According to the latest report of PNP, 1,573 individuals have surrendered to police since Operation Tokhang was resumed. No casualty has been recorded so far.
Police mascots — PO1 Hinirang and the mascot of de la Rosa — also gave flowers to commuters in celebration of Valentine’s Day.
Bustamante said this was the PNP’s way to show its willingness to connect to the public.
“Para malaman nila na we are serious para magkaroon tayo ng relationship sa komunidad…Magkaroon ng tiwala yung ating kababayan sa ating kapulisan para mas maayos yun ating pamayanan,” he said.
(So that they know that we are serious in having a relationship with the community . . . so our countrymen will trust our police.)
Oplan Tokhang returned on January 29 after President Rodrigo Duterte asked the PNP to rejoin the campaign in December but in support of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), which the Chief Executive designated as the lead agency in his administration’s drug campaign. ROY NARRA