Tokhang suspended to give way to police checkpoint deployment
MANILA, Philippines — Police officers in Metro Manila will temporarily stop the country’s anti-drug drive “Oplan Tokhang” because of the massive deployment of police officers to checkpoints to enforce the enhanced community quarantine in the metropolis, the region’s police chief Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas said Tuesday.
“Wala kaming na-implement na Tokhang since nag-umpisa ang quarantine ng March 15,” Sinas told reporters in a press briefing at the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) in Taguig City when asked about updates on Oplan Tokhang figures.
(We have not implemented Oplan Tokhang since the start of the quarantine on March 15.)
“Kasi supposed to be nasa bahay na ‘yan, ayaw namin dagdagan ang sama ng loob ng mga yan,” he added.
(Because these drug suspects are supposed to be in their respective homes; we don’t want to add to their problems.)
Sinas was referring to the start of the community quarantine in Metro Manila which was imposed by the government on March 15 after the Philippine health department recorded local transmission of coronavirus disease in the country.
But Sinas also noted that the Metro Manila police force will focus on implementing quarantine measures and conducting anti-drug operations against high-value drug targets only.
“Wala po muna ‘yung Oplan Tokhang. We already momentarily silent that kasi we focus sa quarantine and buy-bust ng high value targets,” he said.
(The Oplan Tokhang is suspended until further notice. We already momentarily silenced that program because we focus on quarantine and buy-bust operation against high-value targets.)
The community quarantine enabled police and military forces to put up checkpoints in 56 major thoroughfares in Metro Manila to stop people from leaving and entering the National Capital Region unless they are excluded from the travel restrictions.
But on Monday night, the Philippine government placed the whole of Luzon under a monthlong containment in response to the health crisis. This means stricter home quarantine, suspension of all modes of transportation and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures.
It was implemented after the health department continued to record more confirmed cases of COVID-19 which is now at 187 including 12 fatalities.
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