Photo by Mark Cristino/EPA
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) will “initiate” talks with owners of clubs and high-end bars in the cities of Makati and Taguig as part of its efforts to stop the spread and use of illegal drugs.
“I’ll initiate talks with the club owners in Makati, in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig, the high-end bars because we know that a lot of people take party drugs there. I’ll talk to them to know how they can help the government’s campaign, the war on drugs,” PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said in a press conference in General Santos City on Thursday, August 11.
Parts of Makati and BGC are considered the more affluent areas in Metro Manila, where many popular watering holes are located.
For over 6 weeks, Dela Rosa had led the PNP in its “invigorated” campaign against illegal drugs, crime, and corruption. Eliminating the drug menace was among President Rodrigo Duterte’s key promises in the 2016 campaign.
Over 500 drug suspects have been killed in police operations nationwide. More than half a million drug users and pushers have turned themselves in during “Oplan Tukhang,” where cops literally knock on the doors of suspected drug personalities to convince them to change their ways.
But the campaign against illegal drugs has also drawn criticism from human rights groups and the international community. On top of the 500 killed during police operations, media networks have estimated that more than 200 supposed drug personalities were executed by apparent vigilante groups.
The PNP has also been hit for the alleged “anti-poor” nature of the campaign against illegal drugs. While barangays and tenements have been easy targets for anti-illegal drugs efforts, affluent areas have not.
Dela Rosa in the past dismissed this criticism, saying the PNP would soon infiltrate the top tiers of the illegal drug trade as well.
Much like how cops around the country conduct “Tukhang,” Dela Rosa said the cooperation and support of clubs and bars where party drugs are supposedly aplenty would be preferred.
“So it won’t end in shame, the filing of cases, problems. If they cooperate, then why not? But if they don’t, then we will be forced to do our job our own way. Our own way, not their way,” Dela Rosa said. – Rappler.com