Police to allow media in revived ‘Tokhang’

MEMBERS of the media, human rights groups, and other entities will be invited to observe the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) revived “Tokhang” anti-drug operations for transparency, said its spokesman, Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos.

“You’re welcome to join. We won’t let you be in harm’s way if the police know there’s a likelihood that you would be hurt,” Carlos told reporters.

He said the new Tokhang guidelines would focus on drawing up an accurate list of drug suspects by double-checking with other organizations like the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and intelligence units.

The PNP spokesman, however, clarified that police anti-drug operations would continue even without observers.

Operation Tokhang, wherein police were only supposed to knock on the doors of drug suspects to encourage them to surrender, had been the subject of criticism from various human rights groups and religious organizations for turning “bloody” and “violent.”

Carlos said the PNP was fast-tracking the purchase of body cameras to be used in Tokhang operations. The budget for the body cameras is P39 million.

PNP chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa earlier said that upon the arrival of body cameras, police personnel would be required to wear them during their operations.

ROY D.R. NARRA

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