PNP looking at balancing ‘tokhang’ with another plan vs high value targets
MANILA, Philippines —The Philippine National Police (PNP) said Thursday it is looking at “balancing” the “Oplan Tokhang” with another operation plan that will focus partly on targeting high-value targets and drug syndicates in the drug war.
Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa, PNP officer-in-charge, said this will help remove the negative connotation that “Oplan Tokhang” means the killing of suspects subjected to anti-drug operations, as also raised by Vice President Leni Robredo.
“So ‘yung isa niyang (Robredo) suggestions (So one of her suggestions) is retooling on how we are going to present that word ‘tokhang.’ We will probably balance it with another one. Just to erase the notion that tokhang means death. It is not so,” he said in an interview with reporters.
Sought for clarification, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson, said Gamboa was referring to a “new oplan with a new name” that will partly focus on high-value targets and “encapsulate the policy directions” of Robredo as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).
Gamboa said that during the meeting of Robredo with the law enforcement cluster of ICAD, the PNP “insisted” that “Oplan Tokhang” still be used in the campaign against illegal drugs.
He said that the cluster had convinced Robredo that there should only be a “repackaging” or “retooling” of how the drug war is presented to the public.
“Parang ito ‘yung (This is) ‘tokhang,’ we have to present another one para magbago ‘yung paningin nila sa dito sa ‘tokhang’ (So that their mindset about the ‘tokhang’ will change), but we can never do away with this because the intention is different as perceived by the public. We will let them understand ano ‘yung (what is) ‘tokhang’ and then come up with ano itong high-value targets na campaign ng (that will be the campaign of the) PNP,” he explained.
Asked if Robredo conceded that the word “tokhang” still be used in the existing operation plan, he said: “Of course. We are the experts.”
He said “Oplan Tokhang” will stay.
“Tokhang,” derived from Visayan words “toktok” (knock) and “hangyo” (plead), and coined by then PNP chief and now Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, is the flagship strategy in the drug war where police plead for drug suspects to stop their illegal activities.
The term, however, has since been associated with the deaths of suspects who the police claim have resisted arrest and engaged them in a gunfight.
Edited by MUF
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