Human rights advocates, priests welcome to join ‘Tokhang’ ops

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa on Monday stressed that human rights advocates are welcome to join in "Oplan Tokhang" operations, noting that they will not gun down drug suspects indiscriminately.

"Well, imbitado sila para makita nila. We are inviting them sumama kayo sa 'Oplan Tokhang' para makita ninyo kung paano namin ginagawa ito, pati mga pari nila iniimbitahan namin kung gusto nilang sumama," he added.

Dela Rosa said that they would also request the Commission on Human Rights to come up with a list of legitimate human rights groups.

"Tingnan natin kung merong accreditation (sila) from the (Commission) Human Rights," he added.

PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos earlier said supplemental guidelines for "Oplan Tokhang" are essentially founded on the fundamental principles of respect for human rights and strict adherence to the rule of law, with greater emphasis on transparency, accountability and command responsibility.

"The more salient items in the 12-point guidelines prescribe that 'Rule of Law' shall always prevail during the conduct of all anti-illegal drug related activities including Tokhang activities, and Respect for Human Rights shall be strictly observed at all times, he added.

The guidelines specifically stipulate that Tokhang operations shall be intelligence-driven, targeting suspected illegal drug personalities listed by the Directorate for Intelligence.

It is required that police Tokhang teams are in proper PNP uniform, must be led by a police commissioned officer and shall conduct operations from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.

"When available, the use of body camera and similar video recording gadgets is highly encouraged in Tokhang operations," Carlos said.

In the documentation of surrenderers, taking of mug shots and fingerprint, is voluntary and should not be mandatory for surrenderers.

The PNP vows to impose sanctions against unwarranted violation of these guidelines.

Any violation of this PNP Supplemental Operational Guidelines shall be dealt with under existing PNP disciplinary mechanisms," the PNP spokesperson added.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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