THE Philippine National Police (PNP) in Negros Oriental is now in the process of selecting key personnel to be trained specifically for anti-illegal drugs operations.
In an interview on January 24, PNP Provincial Director Edwin Portento said that based on the new guidance from the PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa, there shall be a strict selection process for police personnel who shall be involved in "Oplan TokHang" this time around.
Back then, any police officer on duty could be deployed to undertake Oplan TokHang activities, specifically knocking on the doors of suspected drug users and pushers for them to surrender voluntarily to the police.
This time, the “TokHangers” shall be properly screened and shall undergo training on how to carry out their mission of visiting pre-identified and validated drug personalities, Portento said.
He said that Dela Rosa strongly emphasized that prior to house visitation, an identified personality must be properly validated first.
Portento admitted that in the past, the police had even little information about a suspected drug personality, but they were allowed to go and knock on the suspects' doors.
The emphasis now was on the quality of operations (TokHang) and not more on quantity, he said.
The PNP was targeting to have at least two police personnel per police station to be assigned as “TokHangers,” he added.
He said they already had an initial seminar last January 23 and an additional training has been set.
Portento also clarified that the “TokHangers” would also be doing other police functions such as administrative, investigation, desk officer and street patrols.
He also clarified that the PNP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) are working hand in hand in the anti-narcotics operations in Dumaguete, despite the lack of personnel of the PDEA.
The police are required to coordinate with the PDEA, which is mandated by law to be the lead agency in the anti-drugs drive, prior to a police operation.
Sometimes, both agencies are represented while other times, it is just the PNP but with prior notification with the PDEA, according to Portento. (PNA)