CAN he and his men beat President Duterte’s deadline?
If he were to be asked, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. de la Rosa said there is a big need for his men to triple their efforts so that they can meet their target to make an estimated 1.8 million drug users in the country o surrender within the first six months of the new administration.
The sharpshooting police chief said that despite their significant accomplishments in the conduct of Oplan: Tokhang and Project: Double Barrel, police nationwide have to work double, even triple time to accomplish what they have promised the new president.
“Sabi nga ni Presidente (Rodrigo Duterte) zero tolerance tayo sa drugs. Kung zero tolerance malaki pa bubunuin natin and I’m worried. We are running out of time,” Dela Rosa said when asked how will he assess the PNP’s gains in the war versus drugs during the first two months of the Duterte presidency.
As the new government enters its 3rd month, Gen. de la Rosa said he is directing the entire 160,000-strong police force to triple its efforts in implementing the vaunted Oplan: Tokhang.
“Triple time yung effort namin. Nagwo-worry nga kami dahil after we reached 600,000 plus nag-plateau na kami. Hindi na umaakyat yung number of nagsurrender,” he said.
“Kaya worried ako baka hindi ma-meet yung 1.8 million na mag-surrender, that’s according to the estimate of the Dangerous Drugs Board. Ganun kataas yung aming hinihingi 1.8 million pero ngayon nasa 600,000. Medyo nag-plateau,” he explained.
According to the PNP chief, he expects the number to increase further with the surrender of more than 10,000 confessed drug dealers and users in Central Mindanao during simple Oplan: Tokhang ceremonies in General Santos City Wednesday.
Even the Moro Islamic Liberation Front has turned over to the local police purported MILF rebels and their relatives who are into drugs. Latest PNP reports said that police nationwide have visited the houses of more than 565,000 suspected drug personalities.
Those operations have also resulted in the killing of 900 armed drug offenders in reported gunfights with the police, the arrest of around 13,000 suspects and the surrender of nearly 628,000 others.
However, Gen. de la Rosa said the numbers are still not enough and will ask PNP deputy chief for operations Director Benjamin B. Magalong and PNP Director for Operations Chief Superintendent Camilo Pancratius D. Cascolan to present to him an assessment of the first three-months of the anti-drug war which will be used to gauge the performance of commanders on the ground.
The PNP chief has threatened to remove police regional directors who will miserably fail in their implementation of Oplan: Tokhang and Project: Double Barrel. So far, dozens of city and municipal police chiefs have been relieved from their posts for “underperformance” in the anti-narcotics crackdown.