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Cops on mission to stop illegal drugs sing ‘Oplan Tokhang’

/ 06:24 AM February 15, 2018

Manila policemen visit a community at Tondo district to invite drug suspects for questioning under “Oplan Tokhang.” A song composed by Cavite policemen tries to change the public’s negative impression of the government’s war on drugs. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

Policemen in Cavite province have turned to music to help them fight the drug menace.

A jingle running for less than four minutes makes light of the Philippine National Police’s controversial “Oplan Tokhang,” thanks to its catchy tune and a verse sung by Fliptop (rap battle) icon, Zaito.

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The song, titled “Oplan Tokhang,” is an attempt to change the public’s negative perception of the government’s antidrug operation “Tokhang” (from the Cebuano words “toktok” and “hangyo,” meaning knock and plead), which has long been criticized for the deaths of illegal drug and crime suspects in police operations.

Have no fear

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In January, the PNP relaunched the campaign to end the illegal drug trade, to fulfill one of President Duterte’s campaign promises.

The jingle, written by PO1 Marivic Dimapilis and performed by the Cavite Provincial Police Office (PPO) band, was uploaded Tuesday on the Cavite police’s Facebook page, with a slideshow showing policemen giving out flyers in several communities.

Part of the lyrics goes: “‘Wag kang matakot kaibigan, buhay mo’y aming iingatan. Mali mong paniniwala, hayaan na kapulisan ito ay itama (Do not be afraid, my friend, we will keep you safe. Let the police correct misconceptions).”

Its chorus goes: “Toktok-hangyo, kaibigan, ‘wag mong katakutan … Makiisa, tapusin ang salot na droga … mabuhay ng patas, tahimik at tama (Do not fear this knock and plead campaign, my friend … cooperate and end the drug menace … be fair and righteous and live a peaceful life).”

PO1 Joe Villa, who plays bass guitar in the Cavite PPO band, said it only took them a day to write and arrange the song, their second after the “Kampanya Laban sa Droga,” which they performed for the regional police’s battle of the bands in 2016.

“We hear a lot about Oplan Tokhang on TV, making people think it’s all about the killings. We’re hoping the song will change that because it’s really just about convincing [drug users] to surrender,” he said.

No deaths

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Coming up with an official jingle was the idea of Senior Supt. William Segun, Cavite police director, to strengthen police-community relations in the province.

Supt. Chito Macaspac, Cavite police spokesperson, said: “We feel the word ‘tokhang’ is being misused. We often hear people say, ‘adik ka, ipa-tokhang kita’ when they mean ‘You’re an addict, I’ll have you killed.”

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TAGS: Cavite cops, Oplan Tokhang, war on drugs
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