QUEZON CITY, Philippines — More than two years after its launching, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will recalibrate its campaign against illegal drugs.
This is following President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise in his third state of the nation address (SONA) to further intensify the operation amid allegations of human rights abuses and political killings.
PNP Chief Police Director General Oscar Albayalde said the recalibration will focus on two fronts: the performance of all police commanders and the accounting of all drug users and pushers across the country, including those who have surrendered in the past.
“Wala naman tayong bagong guidelines dito. Kumbaga sa sasakyan parang itu-tune up mo. So iyong mga police diyan, if they do not act, then they will be relieved from their posts,” he said.
Albayalde said police commanders will face dismissal if they are found to have low achievements under the anti-drug campaign.
“Kung talagang low performance siya over the past few years, kung matagal na siyang nakaupo, then if we have to relieve these commanders, we will do so. That is part of the recalibration,” the PNP Chief emphasized.
Albayalde, however, is quick to clarify that their intention in conducting a re-calibrated Oplan Tokhang is to safeguard the safety of the majority of Filipinos and that the drug war will only be chilling for those engaged in illegal acts.
“We are doing our best naman dito at nakita naman natin ang ginawa natin at palaging binabantayan ito ng ating counter intelligence at internal cleansing (unit) to avoid abuse ng iba pa sa aming hanay,” said Albayalde.
The general also appealed to the critics and local government officials to help in the rehabilitation of more than one million drug surrenderers instead of lambasting the government’s war on drugs.
Data from the PNP showed that over 140,000 drug personalities were arrested under the campaign and more than 4,000 were killed in anti-drug operations.
Meanwhile, more than 1,600 drug personalities remain in the PNP watchlist, including 900 high-value targets. — Lea Ylagan / Marje Pelayo