Albayalde to retain Oplan Tokhang when he becomes PNP chief

Rambo Talabong

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Albayalde to retain Oplan Tokhang when he becomes PNP chief
Albayalde says he will not introduce a new drug war policy in the PNP as he believes the current campaign has yielded 'very good' results


MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) will continue with Oplan Tokhang under the leadership of Oscar Albayalde, the incoming police chief himself announced on Friday, April 6.

Currently the Metro Manila top cop, Albayalde said he will not introduce a new drug war policy to the PNP, explaining that the campaign has so far yielded “very good” results.

Ipagpapatuloy natin ‘yang Oplan Tokhang. Napakaganda ng naging resulta. At ito talaga ang programa ng ating Pangulo at ‘yan ay magpapatuloy ‘yan, hindi po tayo magre-relax sa Oplan Double Barrel natin or sa war on illegal drugs,” Albayalde told Camp Crame reporters in a video call.

(We will continue Oplan Tokhang. The result has been very good. And this is really a program of our President, we will not relax on Oplan Double Barrel or in the “war on drugs”.)

Why this matters: Oplan Tokhang is one of the most controversial Philippine police campaigns in recent history, with law enforcement officials themselves lamenting that “Tokhang“, a contraction of toktok and hangyo (knock and plead), has come to mean killing.

As the name suggests, Oplan Tokhang involves police officers knocking then pleading with drug suspects to surrender and undergo rehabilitation.

The campaign has gone astray however, no less than incumbent PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa admitted, as some scalawag cops supposedly hijacked the campaign.

It is because of this supposed deadly sabotage that human rights probes have come to hound the PNP, even President Rodrigo Duterte.

Oplan High-Value Target continues too: Oplan Tokhang is just a component of Oplan Double Barrel.

Its other half, Oplan High-Value Target (HVT) will also be continued under Albayalde’s leadership.

In contrast with Tokhang targeting small-time drug users and pushers, the HVT goes after drug lords and drug-linked, high-profile personalities.

This two-pronged approach to battling drugs traces its roots to Davao City, back when President Duterte was its mayor.

PNP’s ‘achievements’: According to the latest tally of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, there have been over 4,000 drug suspects killed and 123,000 more arrested in line with law enforcement operations – most of these operations were conducted by the 180,000-strong PNP.

In addition, law enforcers have confiscated a total of 2,620 kilograms of methamphetamine or “shabu” worth P13.46 billion. –

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.