RESUMPTION OF ‘TOKHANG’
LINGAYEN—Both President Duterte and Chief PNP Ronald de la Rosa may have made it clear that the PNP has been ordered to resume Double Barrel operations under the direction of PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency), but the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office still cannot operate until it receives the written order from the regional office.
“Of course, that is good news to us and a challenge to all of us that the PNP is again authorized to continue its anti-drug operations,” said P/Supt. Jackie Candelario, deputy police provincial director for operations, when asked if an order has already been given them to proceed.
He said that once the marching order is received, the police will immediately resume their unfinished job of clearing the province’s barangays of illegal drugs.
By his last assessment before the order of suspension was issued, Candelario said more than 80 percent of barangays have already been cleared of drugs.
Sto. Tomas used to be the lone municipality in Pangasinan declared as drug-free. The town of Laoac was also declared drug-free, making it as the second drug-cleared town in Pangasinan.
There was also the unfinished act of declaring the town of Natividad drug-free.
Provincial Director, P/Supt. Ronald Lee, said his office will still validate reports that a number of barangays that were earlier cleared of drugs have seen a resurgence of illegal drug trade since the PNP was barred from operating against illegal drugs.
Chief PNP Ronald de la Rosa, in a speech during the inauguration of the new Laoac Police Station on March 2, gave broad hints that Oplan Tokhang will be back soon but did not indicate when will it start.
Of course, we have many things to show to our people that the police are deserving of the new trust and confidence of President Rodrigo Dueterte in giving back the lead to police in the anti-illegal drugs operations, Candelario said.
He added that the Pangasinan PNP has already undergone internal cleansing by already weeding out uniformed men involved in drugs and is now ready to resume its work in anti-illegal drugs operations in coordination with the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
The PDEA, as the lead agency in the war on drugs in Pangasinan, has only 13 operatives, not eight as originally reported, and can not be expected to clean the whole province, comprising of 48 towns and cities.
Responding to a question from the media, Candelario said with the cleansing process of PNP personnel in Pangasinan accomplished, the public in Pangasinan can be assured it will go back to work and finish it soon. (Leonardo Micua)