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So far so good, PNP chief says of ‘Tokhang’

Policemen conduct a visit to homes at a poor community as part of a government anti-drug crackdown in metropolitan Manila, Philippines, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. The Philippine police chief said his force will resume visits to the homes of drug suspects to encourage them to reform, despite his acknowledgement that corrupt police have abused the program. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

The Metro Manila police commander on Tuesday hailed the bloodless relaunch of the Philippine National Police’s antinarcotics campaign “Oplan Tokhang,” calling it “peaceful and very successful.”

Director Oscar Albayalde, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), said officers visited 147 homes across Metro Manila on Monday and 43 drug suspects surrendered.

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PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa described the relaunch of Tokhang as “so far so good,” with 563 drug suspects surrendering to police nationwide.

‘Tokhangers’ unarmed

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In an interview with the Inquirer on Tuesday, Albayalde said the officers who took part in Tokhang — the operation where police knock on the doors of drug suspects and seek their surrender—were unarmed.

He said it would be NCRPO policy for “Tokhangers” — officers who conduct Tokhang — to be unarmed.

“They will just be escorted by security personnel,” especially when they enter particularly drug-infested areas, Albayalde said. “But only Tokhangers can knock on the doors.”

He said all of the suspects visited on Monday were on barangay drug lists.

Forty-three surrendered, three refused to surrender, and the rest were not at home, he added.

Albayalde said earlier that those who had surrendered would be evaluated by local governments to determine whether they should be sent to rehabilitation, counseling or to livelihood and skills development programs.

People were not afraid, the officer said.

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“It (Tokhang) was explained to them. There is really no one who dies during Tokhang,” Albayalde said.

He agreed with the PNP chief’s statement that the new antidrug campaign would not be bloodless but just less bloody. —With a report from Jeannete I. Andrade

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TAGS: Bato dela Rosa, Oplan Tokhang, Oscar Albayalde, Ronald dela Rosa, war on drugs
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