PAMPANGA, Philippines – Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda has proposed a different strategy in the war against drugs: let village officials gather and turn over drug suspects to authorities.
This, she said, would prevent more “shootouts” that often lead to the suspects’ death.
Pineda made the proposal as two more suspected drug pushers were shot dead by policemen in Porac town and Angeles City on July 20 and 21, respectively.
Pineda broached her plan at the turnover of some 10,200 suspected drug pushers and users in the province to the police. There, the governor told the drug suspects that she would ask the police not to knock on their doors to avoid any untoward incident.
She said policemen should instead ask the drug suspects’ respective village chiefs to summon them.
“Pinakiusap ko po kay PD (police provincial director), kay RD (police regional director), sa mga chief of police na huwag na ninyo silang katukin, baka sabihin lumaban. Ipakuha ‘nyo na lang sa kapitan para ilabas sila. Pinakiusap ko na po ‘yon, na huwag nang kakatukin tapos lulusubin ang bahay. Lumabas na lang po kayo, sagot po kayo ni Gov,” Pineda said.
(I requested the PD [police provincial director], RD [police regional director], the chiefs of police not to knock on your doors, it might be said there was a struggle. Let the village chiefs get them. I requested for that, that they don’t knock on your doors and barge into your homes. Just come out, Gov will be responsible for you.)
‘Modified’ Oplan TokHang
The governor’s statement drew loud applause and cheers from the drug suspects.
Pineda was referring to the Philippine National Police’s “Oplan Tokhang,” coined from the Cebuano word “toktok-hangyo,” which means to knock and to make an appeal. Under the scheme, policemen knock on the door of suspected drug pushers and users and ask them to abandon their illegal activities.
Around 10 pm on July 21, Angeles City policemen shot dead suspected drug pusher Amor Del Rosario, 36, in Cutud village. The suspect, who sold a small plastic sachet of methamphetamine hydrochloride to an undercover policeman, allegedly fired at the cop after the latter announced that he was a policeman.
Authorities recovered a caliber .22 semi-rifle with 8 live bullets and two fired cartridges, 3 small plastic sachets of shabu, and the marked money used in the buy-bust operation.
In Sta Cruz village, Porac town, operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Pampanga killed one Arman De Leon after allegedly fired at them in the early hours of July 20.
A CIDG-Pampanga report obtained by Rappler states that De Leon fled on board his motorcycle after realizing he had just sold illegal drugs to an undercover policeman. A chase followed and upon reaching Pampang Road, he allegedly fired his gun towards the CIDG operatives who fired back and killed him.
Authorities recovered from De Leon a .45 caliber pistol with 4 live ammunition and two fired cartridges, a medium-size plastic sachet of shabu with a street value of about P12,000, and 3 marked P1,000 bills.
Road to change
The drug suspects who surrendered in Pampanga will participate in the provincial government’s Dalan king Pamagbayu (Road to Change) program.
Pampanga Vice Governor Dennis Pineda said the program is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s all-out campaign against illegal drugs, as it seeks to help improve drug-dependents’ physical, spiritual and emotional well-being “through proper rehabilitation and reformation.”
The first stage of the program is the surrender and execution of an affidavit of the self-confessed drug pushers and users, followed by a mandatory drug test.
The second stage includes 6-month treatment and rehabilitation by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and the provincial health officer. The last stage is reformation and reintegration wherein participants who have completed the first two stages would be given educational, livelihood, and employment assistance.
All program participants are also required to personally report to their respective village chiefs every week. – Rappler.com
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