AS their war against drugs heats up, Philippine National Police chief, Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. de la Rosa wants ‘best practices’ initiated by some police regional offices to be replicated nationwide in order to effectively address illegal drug trafficking and abuse.
So far, the PNP chief has mentioned the Police Regional Office 1 in Ilocos-Pangasinan region, PRO3 in Central Luzon, PRO4-A in Calabarzon region, PRO7 in Central Visayas, PRO8 in Eastern Visayas and PRO12 in Central Mindanao as having initiated some ‘best practices’ which can serve as an example to others.
“These six police regional offices have initiated best practices which other unit commanders can replicate in their respective areas,” Dela Rosa said.
At present, the PRO1 headed by Chief Superintendent Gregorio R. Pimentel of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sandiwa’ Class of 1985 has its Regional Inter-Agency Committee on Illegal Drugs composed of representatives from all concerned law enforcement agencies outside the PNP, the judiciary, local government units and the citizenry banding together to solve the drug menace.
The PRO3 headed by Chief Supt. Aaron N. Aquino, another member of PMA Class 1985 has its Shame Campaign Rallies, the Balik-Loob Program and Organization of Convenors all aimed at effectively crushing the drug problem in the region.
On the other hand, the PRO4-A headed by Chief Supt. Valfrie G. Tabian, a classmate at the PMA ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 of Gen. Dela Rosa now boasts of a drug rehabilitation center in Sta. Rosa City, Laguna which was built with the help of the local government as well as the ‘Kapit-bahay Ko, Bantay Ko’ program which calls on the public to report the illegal drug activities of their neighbors to the local police with the condition that their identities will be protected.
The PRO7 headed by Chief Supt. Noli G. Taliño of PMA ‘Maharlika’ Class of 1984 has its own Project Flash, the Harana Laban sa Droga and the Libreng Sakay: Free Funeral Ride Against Illegal Drugs programs. These initiatives have been seen as a major contributory factor to a reduced crime rate and illegal drug activities in Central Visayas.
The PRO8 headed by Chief Supt. Elmer C. Beltejar, another member of PMA Class 1985 has its Pasay Loa Ako program and the Operation: Taphang of the Eastern Samar Police Provincial Office. Operation: Taphang is a program in which the local police have tapped the help of the best policemen-dancers in the province -- in dancing their way to the hearts of the local community, confessed drug users included and convincing them that dancing, not drugs, is a better way to enjoy life.
The PRO12 headed by Chief Supt. Cedrick G. Train of the PNP Academy Class 1984 meanwhile has its Balik-Pag-Asa Program for Surfacing Drug Personalities. Train has tapped the help of the academe, the business community and other Good Samaritans in providing free skills and livelihood training to confessed drug personalities in the region as soon as they have surrendered in line with the ongoing PNP Oplan: Tokhang.
Under the program, those who have surrendered thru Oplan: Tokhang are given free training by professionals on metal-welding, hair-dressing and beauty care, hollow-block making, carpentry and farming.
As Gen. Dela Rosa had stated, the implementation of the PNP anti-illegal drugs campaign plan ‘Double Barrel’ and Oplan: Tokhang has achieved the following: First, it revealed the true picture and magnitude of the drug problem in the country. Second, it has persuaded drug personalities to appear voluntarily to authorities. Third, the intensified police operations resulted in the reduction of crime incidents nationwide; and last but most important, the Duterte government’s war on drugs is highly appreciated and supported by the public.
Since July 1, the PNP chief said they have noted a significant reduction in seven prevalent crimes in Metro Manila and other parts of the country including rape, robbery, theft, motor vehicle and motorcycle theft, homicide and physical injuries.
Contrary to the perception of some sectors of the society, Gen. Dela Rosa said their Oplan: Tokhang and Project: Double Barrel has resulted in the surrender of a great number of confessed drug dealers and users compared to the number of armed drug suspects killed in gunbattles with anti-narcotics officers.