OVER 31,000 confessed drug dealers and users in Caraga Region have turned themselves over to the local police since last July 1 and have vowed to mend their ways as a result of the no-nonsense implementation of the Philippine National Police Oplan: Tokhang, Police Regional Office 13 director, Chief Superintendent Rolando B. Felix announced yesterday.
“So far, we have knocked on the doors of some 13,000 houses in the entire Caraga region and have persuaded suspected drug personalities whose names were given to us by barangay officials to turn themselves over to the police for documentation,” said Felix.
‘Tokhang’ is derived from the Visayan word ‘Tok-tok’ and ‘Hangyo’ which literally means ‘to knock and plead.’ The program involves the conduct of house-to-house visitations by the police to persuade suspected drug personalities to halt their illicit activities 100 percent.
The project, however, entails collection and validation of information being furnished to the local police by barangay authorities, the coordination stage, the actual house visits, the processing and documentation stage and lastly, the monitoring and evaluation of those who have turned themselves in to the police.
“We have enticed over 31,000 known illegal drug personalities in the entire Caraga region to stop their illegal activities. Right now, we have conducted a profiling of the surrenderees and are monitoring their activities from the day they returned to their residences with a promise they would mend their ways,” said Felix.
After visiting 12,994 houses in the entire Caraga region, Felix said they have recorded some 31,229 confessed drug dealers and users who have surrendered to the local police as a result of the Oplan: Tokhang.
Oplan: Tokhang is just the lower barrel of the Project: Double Barrel being implemented by the PRO13 in Caraga. Felix said that their Project: High-Value Target is the upper barrel which goes after both high-value and low-value target drug personalities in the region.
They include those who have previously surrendered to the police as a result of Oplan: Tokhang but were monitored to have continued their illicit drug ways days after taking their oath that they would be better persons; members of different law enforcement agencies including the police; private institution officials and employees; and drug personalities who have not surrendered to them since July 1.
Felix said that since July 1, they have conducted a total of 273 successful anti-narcotic operations that led in the arrest of 314 known illegal drug personalities in the region. A total of 15 armed drug dealers in the region have also been killed in gunbattles with the police since the start of the Duterte administration.
The PRO13 director said that those anti-drug operations have also led in the confiscation of over 1.2 kilos of shabu and nearly five kilograms of dried marijuana leaves valued at P14.9 million.
“Despite the issues and challenges confronting the police force nowadays, we at the PRO13 are continuing our mandate to strongly and religiously enforce the law and continue to uphold the interest of the people thru proper maintenance of peace and order in the region,” Felix said.
As part of their program to have a truly professional police force, Felix said they have been religiously reminding the Caraga police to fully observe Police Operational Procedures and human rights each time they perform their day-to-day activities.
All PRO13 personnel particularly the patrollers have been reminded to always bring with them their Miranda and Anti-Torture Warning Cards and to incorporate in their Short Messaging System and Written Reports the recital of Miranda Warning and Anti-Torture Warning to all persons being arrested for violation of the law.
Felix said that he has also required his men to exercise basic procedures in receiving complaints and in implementing search warrants or making arrests. In particular, Caraga Police Human Rights Desks are being manned by officers who are trained to deal with the citizenry with all politeness and sincerity.
The PNP chief has lauded the PRO13 for its innovative measures in the anti-drug war. He even said that he was surprised when he saw that the PRO13 has a big Oplan: Tokhang billboard which is being updated daily to inform the public of the number of surrenderers.