PNP welcomes suggestions to boost fight against illegal drugs

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

At the same time, 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 antidrug campaign, particularly on the lefthand approach that encourages drug offenders to submit themselves to voluntary rehabilitation and reform.

"As we have said we are willing to listen and engage all sectors, including the academe, that is concerned and willing to assist the PNP in the fight against illegal drugs. The PNP is always open for any suggestions that will improve on our law enforcement, 'yung aming pagtataas ng standard namin (raising our standards) and how we enforce the law. Malay natin, meron silang (Who knows they might have a) bright idea, remember they are in the academe," Albayalde told reporters in a press conference Monday.

The PNP chief has directed Maj. Gen. MaO 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 antidrug campaign.

He stressed that it should be understood that Oplan Tokhang is essentially a Police Community Relations operation that supports the overall antidrug strategy while in Oplan HVT (highvalue 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 wellmeaning 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," Albayalde said.

"Tokhang is only a strategy which 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 noted.

Albayalde has assured the public that the PNP remains committed to performing its mandate to enforce the law although some policemen have been accused of human rights violations amid the conduct of antidrug 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 and we want to assure the people that we are doing this in order to prevent abuse of power by our law enforcers at the same time perform our mandate. I would like to point out that it is the PNP's constitutional mandate to enforce the law on illegal drugs," said Albayalde.

On Sunday, PNP spokesperson, Col. Bernard Banac said that according to government's records, 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 February 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. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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