HAVING surrendered as a result of the Oplan: Tokhang of the Philippine National Police is not an assurance that the more than 700,000 confessed drug dealers and users won’t be subjected to future anti-narcotics operations by the police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, officials said yesterday.
PNP chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa and PDEA chief Director General Isidro S. Lapeña said that under the new Dangerous Drugs Board regulation it is clear that “the voluntary surrender by drug personalities shall not be an assurance that they will not be subjected to drug law enforcement operation.”
The two top officials made the statement in the wake of the continuing aggressive anti-drug campaign by the Duterte government which so far has led to the surrender of more than 712,000 confessed drug traffickers and users. Oplan: Tokhang has even prompted members of the National Capital Region Police Office to enter even exclusive subdivisions and condominiums in Metro Manila on orders of NCRPO director Chief Superintendent Oscar D. Albayalde.
In a memorandum to all 18 Police Regional Office directors, PNP deputy chief for operations, Director Benjamin B. Magalong emphasized that when reports of illegal drug activities persist despite the conduct of ‘Oplan Tokhang,’ the chief of the concerned police unit in coordination with the Barangay Anti-drug Abuse Council shall immediately initiate action for the legitimate arrest and filing of appropriate charges against persons subjected to the house visitation.
Magalong said that all police commanders are also under orders to generate sufficient information and evidence to warrant the filing of criminal charges against the hostile drug personality. Officials said this is the reason why scores of those who have surrendered under Oplan: Tokhang were eventually killed in gunbattles with the police after they were monitored to have returned to their old drug trafficking ways after registering with the police.
The PDEA has released the guidelines in dealing with confessed drug users who have voluntarily surrendered to the government in line with the stepped-up campaign against illegal drug trafficking and abuse by the Duterte administration.
“The intensified anti-drug efforts of the government have made a big impact on drug dependents and pushers nationwide that led to their voluntary submission to authorities. Now it is time to provide them effective mechanisms to ensure their re-integration to society, to recover and become productive citizens again,” Lapeña said.