PHILIPPINE National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde yesterday said they are open to suggestions from different sectors to further improve their war on the drugs in the aftermath of an Ateneo study which questioned the government’s bloody anti-narcotics crackdown since 2016.
“I welcome the release of findings and conclusions of a study made by the Ateneo Policy Center on the PNP anti–drug campaign, particularly on the left hand approach that encourages drug offenders to submit themselves to voluntary rehabilitation and reform,” the PNP chief told a press briefing at Camp Crame.
“As we have said, we are willing to listen and engage all sectors, including the academe, that are concerned and willing to assist the PNP in the fight against illegal drugs,” he added.
The PNP chief said he has directed PNP Director for Operations Major General Mao R. Aplasca and PNP Director for Police-Community Relations Maj. Gen. Benigno B. Durana Jr. to get in touch with the proponent of the study for a discussion to further improve our campaign.
“It should be understood that Oplan Tokhang is essentially a Police Community Relations operation that supports the overall anti-drug strategy. In Oplan HVT(High-Value Target), it is unfortunate that there had been some incidents wherein operations turned awry when the subject offered armed resistance to police intervention,” he said.
“Unfortunate situations like these obscured the well-meaning intentions to Tokhang and associated it with violation of certain rights. And this is how the negative ‘labeling’ of Tokhang started, more so, the bloated figure of 7,000 deaths attributed to it by the Ateneo study.
“I would like to point out that it is the PNP’s constitutional mandate to enforce the law on illegal drugs because if we don’t fight illegal drugs, then who else will? The combined personnel complement of PDEA and NBI is less than 10,000 operatives that cannot possibly handle the operational requirements to address the estimated 3 to 7 million drug offenders,” he said.