A different Tokhang starts nationwide today

January 28,2018 - 10:15 PM

OPLAN Tokhang officially resumes today nationwide.

Police will be visiting houses of suspected drug personalities, to urge them to surrender.

But, unlike previous Tokhang operations, police will not enter the houses they knock on, nor chase anybody who runs away.

Senior Supt. Julian Entoma, chief of the police regional office operations and planning division and concurrent acting Cebu City police director said Oplan Tokhang will be done simultaneously by police offices nationwide from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday.

The team will have five policemen, including the deputy station commander, members of the media, representatives from the religious sector and members of the barangay anti-drug abuse council, although the civilian component is not compulsory but welcome nonetheless.

Entoma said if suspected drug personalities visited will try to run away, they will not be pursued. Instead, he said, they will talk to the parents or whoever is in the house.

If the Tokhang team senses a threat to their lives, they can request for security from their colleagues. The policemen will be armed, but purely for self-defense.

The deputy station commander will lead the team and talk to the occupants of the house or to the suspected drug personality on the ill effects of illegal drugs.

The Tokhang team is not allowed to enter the houses they visit even if they may invited in by the family. This is to avoid accusations of forcible entry and to emphasize that Tokhang is voluntary.

On the call by Davao Bishop Romulo Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to follow procedure and avoid violence, Entoma said the police had always been following standard police operating procedures.

Entoma said they are also awaiting the arrival of the body cameras from national headquarters for their operations.

Valles’ call and the use of body cameras by the police during operations came as the number of drug suspects killed steadily rose since President Rodrigo Duterte launched his all-out war against illegal drugs.

The PNP records show at least 3,000 suspects killed during police operations nationwide.

Entoma encouraged suspected drug users to surrender to their barangays if they are ashamed to do so during the Tokhang.

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