THE Police Regional Office (PRO)-Western Visayas is well-prepared for the continuity of the war against drugs.
Superintendent Gilbert Gorero, public information officer of PRO-Westerm Visayas, said on Wednesday that the war against illegal drugs is part of the strategic direction in the region.
“The police are available anytime and are committed to serve the people of Western Visayas,” he added.
Gorero said they are just waiting for the new order from the Philippine National Police (PNP) main headquarters to provide the protocols, systems, and procedures in the anti-illegal drug operations to ensure transparency.
He encouraged the community’s vigilance and cooperation in making the region drug-free.
For her part, Senior Inspector Armilyn Vargas, public information officer of Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO), said in a text message yesterday they are still waiting for the memorandum coming from the higher office, but the BCPO is ready to be at the forefront of the campaign against illegal drugs.
Vargas said the police never stopped monitoring the activities of people involved in the illegal drug trade.
On December 5, President Rodrigo Duterte signed a memorandum allowing the PNP to participate in the anti-drug campaign, but the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) remains the lead agency.
Barely two months ago, Duterte signed a memorandum stripping the PNP of its lead role in the anti-narcotics campaign after some of its personnel were implicated in the killing of suspected drug offenders.
In January, Duterte also ordered for the suspension of the police’s campaign against illegal drugs following the abduction-slay of Korean businessman Jee Ick-Joo by policemen in the guise of drug war.
In March, the President ordered the police again to support the PDEA in its fight against illegal drugs.
The PNP national headquarters vowed on Wednesday transparency in the conduct of its anti-narcotics activities as part of the government's war on drugs.
PNP spokesperson Dionardo Carlos said they will make sure that their anti-narcotics agents will be equipped with body cameras to ensure the regularity of their anti-illegal drugs operations.
He said they will also make sure that operations will be conducted based on their standard operational procedures, which allow barangay officials and media practitioners to witness their operations.
Earlier, PNP chief Ronald Dela Rosa said they were happy to return to the war on drugs and promised transparency in each operation but admitted that the procurement of the body cameras remains pending.
“Underlying d’yan is you cannot enforce what you cannot provide. So right now hindi pa ako nakapag-provide sa kanila ng bodycam dahil nga request natin for the procurement of body cameras is still pending in Congress. Next year pa tayo makaka-procure so kapag na-procure na natin then maybe that's the time we can enforce the policy nung body cam during operation nung anti-drug operation and we will do that buy,” he said.
“Right now I am very happy to hear that some of the lgus (local government units) are reacting to my appeal to buy their anti-drug units ng body cameras so maganda yan, kapag babalik na tayo sa war on drugs ‘yung ibang mga police stations are ready na ng bodycams. This is a welcome development,” he added.