NEW Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Camilo Cascolan on Wednesday, September 2, 2020, said he will continue to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic while targeting high-value drug targets and erring policemen during his short stint.

Cascolan, currently the PNP deputy chief for administration, will succeed outgoing PNP Chief Archie Gamboa, who is retiring Wednesday. He is, however, set to retire on November 10, 2020.

“Obviously, ang ating problema pa po ay pandemya, Covid-19. Atin pong tututukan bilang ako ang chairman ng ASCOTF committee and we will continue to enhance and develop initiatives for us to be able to decrease Covid-19 (cases)," Cascolan said in a television interview Wednesday.

Cascolan heads the Admin Support to Covid-19 Operations Task Force (ASCOTF), which addresses the administrative concerns of the policemen deployed for the implementation of quarantine protocols.

Cascolan is also a member of the Philippine Military Academy Sinagtala Class of 1986 along with Gamboa and former PNP chiefs Ronald dela Rosa and Oscar Albayalde.

“Continuing lang po ang aking serbisyo sa bayan. I have a short term, I also have long term plans but basically I would just want to continue the service I have given this country ever since I was appointed as an officer,” said Cascolan.

“Ako po ay masaya na magseserbisyo kahit dalawang buwan lang po. Protection, serbisyo, yan po ang kailangan at through the PNP ang akin lang po ay magbigay ng transition or I will pave the way for a better PNP maybe and be able to hoping that I would be able to improve all the services for this country,” he added.

Cascolan served in the Davao Regional Police Office where he established links with Duterte and his long-time aide, now Senator Christopher Lawrence Go.

Dela Rosa and Cascolan worked hand in hand in crafting the Oplan Double Barrel, an anti-illegal drugs program of the PNP.

The Oplan Double Barrel, which includes the Oplan Tokhang, was highly criticized due to the killing of thousands of alleged street-level drug personalities.

Cascolan said he will ensure that anti-drug operations will focus on high-value targets under his watch.

“This will be the focus of the anti-drug campaign. Of course it will be evaluated and still be reevaluated from time to time. We will try to enhance our anti-drug war so that we would be able to arrest more high-value individuals,” he added.

He said efforts to weed out erring policemen will also be prioritized as it goes hand in hand with the campaign against illegal drugs.

He said he will re-evaluate the PNP’s internal cleansing program to improve the image of the PNP, the fight against illegal drugs and the efforts and programs being implemented amid the pandemic.

He also said he will visit police camps to check on the morale and the welfare of his men as well as learn and give solutions to several issues on the ground.

Cascolan said he will order the strengthening of marshals in public transport vehicles and terminals to ensure that the health protocols are being followed.

He also plans to create barangay enforcement teams to ensure the observance of quarantine protocols in the communities.

“I will see to it that everybody who imposes or implements the law shall be disciplined and should follow also the law they are implementing,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)