Iloilo police eye street level pushers, for now

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THE Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) is ready to take on suspected illegal drug personalities plying their trade in the province.

But it looks like IPPO anti-narcotics operatives will have their eyes on street-level pushers.

At least for now.

On March 20, 2017, the IPPO hierarchy called for a conference with chiefs of police (COPs) to discuss Project Double Barrel Reloaded, relaunch of the PNP’s war on drugs campaign.

Senior Superintendent Harold Tuzon, Iloilo police chief, said that they discussed the guidelines on the implementation of the Double Barrel Reloaded.

Under the rebooted anti-drugs campaign, police will still use two approaches or phases: Oplan Tokhang Part 2 revisited and Oplan HVT (high-value target).

In the conduct of Oplan Tokhang, police will do re-visitation or monitoring of previous Tokhang surrenderers aside from visiting newly-identified drug personalities.

But the watchlist on newly-identified drug personalities should be validated by both the Police Regional Office (PRO-6) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-6).

“If the list is not yet validated, we could not do the Tokhang on these newly-identified drug personalities,” Tuzon said.

The chief of police should take the lead in every Tokhang operation, alongside barangay officials or members of the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) and representative from the religious sector.

Under Oplan HVT, police will classify their targets – street level pushers; and those involved in drug trading outside the municipal boundaries or those operating in several towns.

The station drug enforcement team (SDET) should lead the operations against drug level pushers while HVT personalities will be the targets of the Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit (PDEU) and SDET.

Also, HVT personalities should be included in a re-validated list.

For now, “we still have to do a re-validation conference with the PDEA,” Tuzon said.

Without that validated list, local police will have to focus on street level pushers for now.

“Unless, the appreciation of our SDET will categorize a previously validated HVT personality into a street level pusher. ‘Yan, pwede pa ring ma-operate at ma-aresto,” Tuzon clarified.

During the conduct of Oplan Tokhang in July 2016 until Double Barrel was stopped end of January 2017, more than 7,000 drug personalities have surrendered in Iloilo province.

When the police went back with Double Barrel Reloaded, more than 500 Tokhang surrenders were re-visited but none for newly-identified group because of the absence of a validated list.

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