PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa is determined to bring back “Operation Tokhang” or the police campaign against drugs this year and has given the go signal for its enforcement.
“Binigyan ko na ng go signal. This year [is our target]. Ipapatawag pa yung oversight committee yung magsusupervise,” he told reporters on Friday.
(I have given the go signal. . . The oversight committee, which will supervise, will be summoned.)
De la Rosa said the operation would be “true in its spirit.”
Under “Operation Tokhang”, policemen will knock on the door of a suspected drug user’s house and convince them to surrender to authorities.
These operations, however, turned bloody as thousands of suspects were killed by the police who often claimed self-defense.
“Ibalik natin ang [Operation] Tokhang pero yung totoong spirit ng Tokhang. Hindi yung tokhang na ginagawa dati na yung pulis na may dala-dalang listahan ng mga drug personalities at sasabihan na nasa listahan ka magbigay ka ng pera para tanggalin ka sa listahan,” he told reporters.
(Let us bring back the true spirit of Tokhang; not the Tokhang that police used to do in which they have list of drug personalities and extort money from those on the list in exchange for dropping their names.)
He also said the true spirit of “Operation Tokhang” does not involve blood.
“Walang hulihan dito kahit kilala ka na drug pusher ka. Di ka huhulihin, kakausapin ka lang.Bloodless in spirit po talaga ang Tokhang,” he said.
(There are no arrests here even if the police know that you’re a drug pusher. There will be no arrests, only a dialogie. Tokhan is really bloodless in spirit.)
The operation was terminated in 2017 amid the rise in the number of extrajudicial killings and abuses.
Under pressure from human rights advocates here and abroad, President Rodrigo Duterte asked the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to take over from the PNP in leading the campaign against illegal drugs.
Before the year ended, however, Duterte returned the PNP to the war but in a supporting role to PDEA. ROY NARRA