With President Rodrigo Duterte confirming the reinstatement of the police’s role in the war on illegal drugs, the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) is set to create a drug enforcement unit to take on illegal drug syndicates.
“Sasalain namin ang mga members nito (We will carefully select the members of the drug enforcement unit),” said Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, PRO-7 chief.
Last Tuesday, President Duterte announced that he would allow the police to resume its operations against illegal drugs due to reports of a resurgent narcotics trade during the campaign’s suspension.
However, not all policemen would return. He did not elaborate.
Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa said only select police would be deployed to continue the war on drugs.
Taliño said he’s still waiting for orders from higher-ups in Camp Crame before resuming their operations.
“(For the meantime), I directed our police officers to start building up cases especially for our high-value targets and those on the streets,” he said.
In conducting anti-drug operations, Taliño clarified that the police need to coordinate with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) which still leads the campaign against illegal drugs.
Taliño said the police will continue with its internal cleansing, hoping to get rid of scalawags in the organization.
“I assure the public that we will be more careful now to avoid what happened in Manila. That incident simply placed the entire organization in bad light,” he said.
PDEA-7 Director Yogi Filemon Ruiz also welcomed President Duterte’s decision to allow the police to resume its anti-drug operations.
“The more agencies going after drug syndicates, the better,” he said.
Ruiz said PDEA-7 will focus on high-value targets.
He said they will also submit to PDEA Director General Isidro Lapeña the list of policemen and government personnel in Cebu who are linked to illegal drugs.
In April, Ruiz said 400 new PDEA-7 agents will join them in conducting anti-drugs operations.
Senior Supt. Eric Noble, Cebu provincial police chief, said they will go all-out in resuming their anti-drug operations.
In the province, Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III said he favors the police’s reinstatement in the war on illegal drugs since the PDEA lacks the personnel to wage the campaign on its own.
Ivy Durano-Meca, who heads the Cebu Provincial Ant-Drug Abuse Office (CPADAO), said the police’s active assistance will boost their campaign.