THE Philippine National Police yesterday unveiled its newest strategy to combat illegal drug trafficking and abuse called Project Double Barrel Alpha which will target “high-value” targets and launch a nationwide barangay drug-clearing operations in coordination with local government units and concerned government agencies within the year and succeeding years.
The launching of the Project Double Barrel Alpha came in the wake of latest PNP reports regarding their Project: Double Barrel which as of Monday morning has already resulted in the arrest of 31,297 known drug offenders and the killing of 1,711 armed drug traffickers following gunbattles with the police.
Seven policemen and three soldiers have been killed while 24 PNP personnel and eight Armed Forces operatives were wounded while fighting armed and defiant drug dealers since the start of the Duterte administration.
From July 1 to last Monday, the PNP said that it has conducted 32,761 anti-narcotics operations nationwide and under its Oplan: Tokhang has visited the houses of 2,550,330 persons resulting in the surrender of 750,579 confessed drug personalities.
Those who surrendered to the police include 54,646 confessed drug traffickers and 696,113 confessed shabu and marijuana users.
Project Double Barrel Alpha will require police to focus on arresting politicians, military, police, government officials and celebrities who have been directly or indirectly involved in illicit drugs.
The new strategy will also see police working more closely with local government authorities and residents to clear drug-affected barangays. Officials of the PNP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency earlier decried the presence of many public officials including barangay authorities who are involved in illicit drug trafficking and abuse.
Last year, the PDEA admitted the increasing number of government officials being arrested for violation of Republic Act 916 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. The PDEA, now headed by Director General Isidro S. Lapeña, said that from 2011 to June 2015 alone, a total of 548 government officials were arrested for violation of the anti-narcotics law: 29 in 2011; 65 in 2012; 138 in 2013; 190 in 2014, and 126 from January to June 2015.
The arrests came in the wake of validated reports that nearly 30 percent of the country’s 42,029 barangays are considered “drug-affected” with the drug menace particularly being felt in barangays in Metro Manila, Calabarzon region and Central Visayas where drug-related crimes continue to hound the PNP.
PNP Director for Operations Chief Superintendent Camilo Pancratius Cascolan yesterday presented the new strategy during a command conference presided over by PNP chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. de la Rosa. In attendance were all 18 police regional directors and the directors of the different PNP national operational and administrative support units.
On Monday, Gen. de la Rosa said they had submitted to President Duterte the names of at least 30 celebrities believed to be involved in illegal drug activities. He did not identify any of the suspects included in the list provided by the National Capital Region Police Office headed by Chief Superintendent Oscar D. Albayalde although several former starlets and models were arrested for drug pushing last month by the Quezon City Police District under Senior Supt. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar.