Dela Rosa warns drug personalities: 'More shock and awe' to come

MANILA, Philippines – As the Philippine National Police (PNP) enters its 7th week of an "intensified" campaign against illegal drugs, its chief admitted he was "worried" by the "plateau" in the number of drug users and pushers who have voluntarily surrendered to authorities.  

"We are worried because for how many weeks now, we've plateaued at almost 600,000 and it hasn't been going up. Maybe other drug users and pushers are on wait and see mode, observing if more will die before they surrender," said Dela Rosa in a chance interview on Wednesday, August 17. 

Police nationwide have implemented Oplan TokHang, during which they knock on the doors of suspected drug users and pushers to convince them to change their wars. "TokHang" comes from the Bisaya words toktok (to knock) and hangyo (to ask).

"Baka kailangan pa talaga nilang mashoshock, kailangan pa nilang more shock and awe para magsurrender. Ngayon relaxed, mukhang okay na tayo, 'di muna tayo mag surrender. Eh, mamaya mamamatay rin kayo pag 'di kayo magsurrender. Operate talaga ang kapulisan diyan, mamatay kayo pag kayo ay lumaban," Dela Rosa added.

(Maybe those drug personalities need to be shocked. Maybe they need more shock and awe for them to surrender. Now they're relaxed, they think it's okay if they don't surrender. But you'll die if you don't surrender. The police will operate and you'll die if you fight back.) 

On Tuesday, August 16, Dela Rosa convened the PNP’s top officials for a Command Conference to discuss the campaign against illegal drugs. Each regional director presented accomplishments in the month-long campaign thus far. 

When Dela Rosa officially took on the top PNP post, the police force saw sweeping changes in its leadership around the country. Almost all regional directors were replaced, followed by provincial and city police officials. 

"It was full of encouragement for them to do more, to double time their efforts because we are almost two months less from our 6-month time frame. My advice to them was to double time, triple time their efforts so we're successful in the war against drugs," Dela Rosa said. 

The Command Conference in Camp Crame started at around 11 am and ended just before 5 pm. 

Dela Rosa said his regional chiefs were generally "performing very well" but admitted that some were "lagging behind." Underperforming regional directors, he said, would be sacked by the 3-month mark of the anti-illegal drugs campaign. 

The PNP's third-in-command, Police Director Benjamin Magalong, will head a committee to evaluate the performance of regional chiefs.  

Dela Rosa singled out the National Capital Region, the Bicol Region, and Western Visayas as the regional offices which need to "step up" their campaign. –