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PNP eyes recalibration of drug war

The head of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Thursday he was eyeing to recalibrate the campaign against illegal drugs.

PNP Officer in Charge Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa told reporters in Camp Crame there was a need to reevaluate the campaign because, “It has been three years since the drug war started.”

Gamboa pointed out the vagueness in defining high value targets (HVTs) as part of the components of a possible resurgence of the drug war.

He said he would ask policemen on the ground for their suggestions on the campaign.

Gamboa said he told Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, who was then the co-chairman of the Interagency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), that the PNP would analyze its strategy in eliminating Illegal drugs.

Gamboa said that during its implementation, Oplan Tokhang had undergone a transformation, from “Tokhang Double Barrel” to “Reloaded.”

The recalibration could be discussed during the PNP command conference in December, Gamboa said

Gamboa said the exchange of ideas was part of the reassessment.

“If you don’t tell us what are the defects and limitations of the policy that we make we will never know,” he said.

For one, Gamboa wants the campaign’s emphasis to shift to apprehending HVTs.
“Let’s go for high value targets, let’s go for bigger catches,”he said.

On Wednesday, police operatives seized P2.5 billion worth of shabu in Makati and Las Piñas cities, one of the biggest drug hauls of the anti-drug effort.

Dangerous Drugs Board Chairman Catalino Cuy and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Deputy Director General Gregorio Pimentel were one in painting a more optimistic picture, saying the country was winning the drug war.

Gamboa said in early November that the PNP and Robredo agreed to repackage Tokhang.

He and PDEA chief Aaron Aquino agreed that Tokhang should not be scrapped, but there should be another campaign to balance and compliment it.

Based on PNP data from July 2016 to July 2019, 6,600 drug suspects were killed in police operations and 256,227 were arrested.

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