MANILA, Philippines – What happens when the war on drugs reaches the gated, exclusive villages of Makati City?
A team led by Philippine National Police (PNP) Southern Police District (SPD) director Senior Superintendent Tomas Apolinario went to the posh Magallanes and Forbes Park villages to conduct a “reinvigorated” Oplan TokHang on Monday, September 5. (READ: Oplan ‘TokHang’ reaches condos, villages, BPOs)
Apolinario, along with 20 police officers and 4 agents from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, came bearing flyers containing the effects of illegal drugs as well as the contact numbers of authorities to reach for emergency cases.
The law enforcement officers were also joined by Magallanes Barangay Captain Armand Padilla, Magallanes Village Association president Luigi Gana, Forbes Park Barangay Captain Evangeline Manotok, and Forbes Park Association president Jun Medina.
“Itong activity namin dito actually (Our activity here) is the reinvigorated TokHang – we go to the residence and we give them flyers. We inform them of the PNP’s anti-illegal drugs campaign so nandito ‘yung mga procedures to follow (so the procedures to follow are here),” Apolinario told reporters.
Under Oplan TokHang, the police normally go house-to-house and knock on the doors of suspected drug users and pushers to give them a chance to change their ways.
“TokHang” is a contraction of Visayan words “toktok” (knock) and “hangyo” (request). (READ: ‘Nanlaban sila:’ Duterte’s war on drugs)
But Apolinario reasoned that none of the 198 drug suspects in the Makati police’s watch list as of Monday live in Magallanes and Forbes Park, thus a “reinvigorated” Oplan TokHang.
The homeowners’ associations call the activity “Kapit Bisig Kontra Droga.”
No one from the two villages was among the 1,289 drug personalities who surrendered and the 108 drug suspects arrested in the city so far.
By noon on Monday, the PNP SPD had randomly visited around 50 homes in Magallanes and 4 houses in Forbes Park. The police had to first ask permission from the homeowners’ associations to enter the villages.
The PNP SPD personnel were mostly met by household employees, who promised to give the flyers to their bosses who were either not at home or who refused to appear before the media during the police operation.
PNP now going around Forbes Park, joined by Bgy Chair Evangeline Manotok pic.twitter.com/lsAEPPsQxT— Mara Cepeda (@maracepeda) September 5, 2016
Apolinario and Manotok were also able to enter the home of Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Lalduhthlana Ralte, who agreed to briefly speak with the two officials without the cameras.
“It means that through the homeowners, meron kaming access sa area na ito (we have access to these areas),” said Apolinario.
This is not the first time the PNP SPD has entered an exclusive village in Makati, as they also conducted Oplan TokHang in Urdaneta and San Lorenzo villages 3 weeks ago.
The PNP SPD chief said they plan to give out flyers to every home in all exclusive subdivisions in the city in the coming weeks.
The scene at Forbes Park and Magallanes villages can be considered more peaceful compared to police operations in other parts of the country. (READ: War on drugs: While you were sleeping)
But Apolinario denied the PNP is giving the villages any special treatment.
“Wala namang [special] treatment. Kung titignan mo ang ganda kasi we don’t have really to patrol these areas regularly kasi naka-concentrate kami sa iba kasi they have their own security…. For every corner, merong mga security guard so ‘di mo masasabing special treatment ‘yan,” said Apolinario.
(No special treatment. What’s good here is that we don’t have to regularly patrol these areas and we can concentrate on others because they have their own security… For every corner, there’s a security guard, so you can’t say that’s special treatment.)
As of September 4, the PNP has conducted 679,122 Oplan TokHang operations nationwide, leading to a total of 685,740 surrendering.
Under Project Double Barrel, 1,011 drug personalities have been killed and 14,798 drug suspects have been arrested in 15,626 operations. (WATCH: War on drugs: ‘Nanlaban’)
Double Barrel is the PNP’s overall project to stamp out illegal drugs. It targets both low-level personalities such as users and pushers, and high-level personalities such as drug lords.
Metro Manila police chiefs and station commanders are also expected to coordinate with mayors and homeowners’ associations as Oplan TokHang expands to condominiums, more gated subdivisions, and business process outsourcing offices. – Rappler.com