Issue of May 5, 2019

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PNP welcomes suggestions to boost anti-illegal drug drive
by PNA

The Philippine National Police welcomes suggestions from different sectors on how to improve law enforcement, particularly in the government's campaign against illegal drugs.

PNP chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde, also welcomed 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.

“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. The PNP is always open to any suggestion that will improve law enforcement. Malay natin, meron silang bright idea. Remember they are in the academe," Albayalde told reporters in a press conference Monday.

The PNP chief has directed Maj. Gen. Ma-O Aplasca and Maj. Gen. Benigno Durana Jr., directors of Operations and Police Community Relations, respectively, to get in touch with the proponents of the study for a discussion to further improve the anti-drug campaign.

He said it should be understood that Oplan Tokhang is essentially a Police Community Relations operation that supports the overall anti-drug strategy, while 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.

“Unfortunate situations like these obscured the well-meaning intentions of Tokhang and associated it with violation of certain rights. And this is how the negative labeling of Tokhang started, and the bloated figure of 7,000 deaths attributed to it by the Ateneo study,” Albayalde said.

Tokhang is an innovative approach where previous strategies failed. We understand that it is easier to criticize. We welcome suggestions and even constructive criticism, but only if these can offer a solution," he said.

Albayalde has assured the public that the PNP remains committed to perform its mandate to enforce the law although some policemen have been accused of human rights violations amid the conduct of anti-drug operations, which sometimes result in the killing of drug suspects.

“This is the very reason why we have internal cleansing, to balance our operations to make sure that our operations on the ground will not (result in) abuse. We assure the people that we are doing to prevent abuse of power by our law enforcers as we perform our mandate,” he said.

PNP spokesperson Col. Bernard Banac said according to the “Real Numbers PH,” the drug war has so far resulted in 5,281 fatalities from the time it was launched in July 2016 until Feb. 28, 2019.

He said since 2016, a total of 8,440 personnel have already been disciplined for various offenses and illegal acts. Out of this number, he said 4,500 were suspended and 2,600 were dismissed from the service.

Of those dismissed, 322 were found positive for use of illegal drugs and 119 either for coddling, protecting drug suspects or not attending court duties.

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