Drug war: âTokhangâ for negligent baranggay captains
PDEA director general Wilkins Villanueva issued the warning as their latest report revealed that 14,171 or 33.70 percent of the 42,045 barangays in the country remain drug-affected with just two years left in President Du­terte’s term.
STAR/ File
Drug war: ‘Tokhang’ for negligent baranggay captains
Helen Flores, Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - September 26, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Drug Enforce­ment Agency (PDEA) warned yesterday erring barangay cap­tains who have been negligent in implementing the government’s anti-drug campaign that they may face “Oplan Tokhang.”

PDEA director general Wilkins Villanueva issued the warning as their latest report revealed that 14,171 or 33.70 percent of the 42,045 barangays in the country remain drug-affected with just two years left in President Du­terte’s term.

A total of 20,165 barangays nationwide have been cleared of illegal drugs since Duterte took office in July 2016.

Oplan Tokhang, a brainchild of former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and now Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, is a community rela­tions activity where police officers visit drug suspects and ask them to surrender and reform.

However, people have associ­ated Tokhang with law enforce­ment operations where at least 5,856 suspected pushers have been killed.

Villanueva said PDEA is moni­toring barangay officials who have not yet established barangay anti-drug abuse councils (BADACs), a necessary component in their drug clearing program.

The BADAC, with members consisting of barangay officials and other representa­tives from the community, formulates and evaluates strategies and programs on drug abuse prevention in the barangay.

“If they don’t have that in their baran­gay, then we will ‘tokhang’ the chairman,” Villanueva said at a press conference.

Villanueva said PDEA will resume full Tokhang operations once the threat of COVID-19 subsides.

He also lamented that Oplan Tokhang got a negative connotation from crit­ics when it was implemented in Metro Manila.

PNP chief Gen. Camilo Cascolan, one of the authors of Oplan Double Barrel, the police’s flagship anti-drug program, said there is nothing wrong with Tokhang.

Cascolan explained that they will not immediately conduct law enforcement operations against suspected drug of­fenders who refuse to surrender.

“We build up cases against you, prove to the court that we need to arrest you,” Cascolan added.

Both Cascolan and Villanueva vowed to intensify operations to rid the remain­ing barangays of illegal drugs.

PDEA also disclosed that a total of 201 drug suspects have been killed in anti-drug operations during the community quarantine.

The suspects were killed in alleged shootouts with law enforcers from March to August when the government imple­mented quarantine protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Citing data from the government’s Real NumbersPH platform, Villanueva said 21,758 other suspected drug offend­ers were arrested during the period.

A total of 5,856 drug suspects have been killed and 256,788 arrested in the govern­ment war on illegal drugs since 2016.

Lawmen also rescued 237 minors involved in the illegal drug trade, then transferred them to social welfare and development offices for rehabilitation.

At least 353 elected officials, 1,022 uniformed personnel and 431 govern­ment employees were among those ap­prehended.

A total of 5,810 drug suspects have been killed and 251,889 arrested in the government’s war on drugs since 2016.

Lawmen confiscated 10,816.51 kilos of shabu, cocaine and marijuana as well as 74,509 pieces of ecstasy tablets worth P53.46 billion in 176,777 operations na­tionwide.

Villanueva said 20,165 barangays have been cleared of illegal drugs while 14,171 other barangays remain drug affected.

He said they will intensify their drug intervention programs in the barangays in coordination with local government units to help drug offenders reform.

“This humanizes the war on drugs of our President,” Villanueva said.

No pardon

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said yesterday he would not allow the pardon of convicted Filipino drug dealers in the Middle East.

In a post on Twitter, Locsin said he has ordered Philippine ambassadors in the Middle East to exclude convicted Filipino drug dealers there from prisoner exchanges.

“You destroy my people, I will let the law abroad destroy you,” he said.

“Unlike in Indonesia, these dealers were not fooled,” the country’s top en­voy said, referring to the case of Filipino Mary Jane Veloso, who was convicted of drug smuggling and sentenced to death in Indonesia.

The Supreme Court has allowed Veloso to testify from Indonesia against her al­leged recruiters.

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