NEW Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Camilo Cascolan will continue to address the 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 retired on Sept. 2, 2020. He is, however, set to retire on Nov. 10.
Cascolan said in a television interview Wednesday, Sept. 2: “Obviously, our problem right now is the pandemic. As the chairman of the ASCOTF committee, I shall focus on enhancing and developing initiatives for us to be able to decrease the number of Covid-19 cases.”
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 protocol.
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.
Cascolan said: “We’re just continuing our service to our country. 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.”
He added: “I’m happy to serve even if it’s just for two months. Protection, service, that is what is needed and through PNP, I am hoping that I will be able to improve our service to this country.”
Cascolan served in the Davao Regional Police Office where he established links with now President Rodrigo 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 re-evaluated from time to time. We will try to enhance our anti-drug war so that we will be able to arrest more high-value individuals,” he said.
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 from 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 health protocol is being followed.
He also plans to create barangay enforcement teams to ensure the observance of quarantine protocol in the communities.
“I will see to it that everybody who imposes or implements the law shall be disciplined and also follow the law they are implementing,” he said.
In Cebu, Police Regional Office Central Visayas (PRO 7) Director Brigadier Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro said he expects a massive revamp within the police hierarchy now that Cascolan has been appointed as the new PNP Chief.
But Ferro won’t preempt Cascolan’s plans, especially since he plans to meet with PRO directors to discuss his plans and marching orders.
He, however, assured Cascolan of his support.
Cascolan is the fourth PNP chief who is a member of the Philippine Military Academy’s Sinagtala Class of 1986.
Ferro believes Cascolan could bring broader plans and programs for the PNP, especially with his previous role as the designer of Oplan Double Barrel, which became a highlight of President Duterte’s war on drugs. (SunStar Philippines, AYB / MMC)