Oplan ‘TokHang’ reaches condos, gated villages, BPOs

MANILA, Philippines – Metro Manila’s top police chief has ordered district directors to “step up" the implementation of Oplan TokHang and Project Double Barrel in exclusive villages, condominium units, and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) offices in the Philippine mega city. 

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director Chief Superintendent Oscar Albayalde issued this as the government’s “war on drugs” enters its third month. 

“TokHang” or Tukhang is an operation that was first introduced in Davao, where cops knocked on the doors of suspected drug users and dealers to persuade them to stop using or peddling drugs. It was the pet project of PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa, who was city police chief.

“Double Barrel,” on the other hand, is the PNP’s overall project to stamp out illegal drugs which targets both low-level personalities such as users and pushers and high-level personalities such as drug lords. 

In a press release on Friday, September 2, the NCRPO said Ablayalde “acknowledged the effectiveness of Oplan Tokhang and Project Double in suppressing the supply and consumption of illegal drugs as the numbers of surrenders continue to increase.” 

“[Albayande] believes that involving exclusive villages and condominium units would lead to further cleansing of illegal drug personalities metrowide,” according to the NCRPO’s release. 

This means district directors, chiefs of police, and station commanders are expected to coordinate with local government officials and home owners associations. Albayalde had earlier told Rappler that while gated communities could also turn down the PNP’s invitation, they would do this to their “disadvantage.” 

The PNP’s efforts to stop the illegal drugs trade is supported by many Filipinos but is also being hit by critics for supposedly forsaking human rights and due process. It has also been criticized for being anti-poor. The first weeks of the “war on drugs” saw police crack down on users and dealers in poor villages, leading to more than 600,000 TokHang surrenderees. 

It has also been a bloody war. Close to 2,500 drug-related deaths have been tallied by police in the first two months of the campaign. Less than 1,000 of those were deaths attributed to legitimate police operations. – Rappler.com