MANILA — Vice President and anti-drug czar Leni Robredo agreed that Oplan Tokhang will remain in place but stressed the campaign must undergo a “retooling”, the country’s top cop said Thursday.
“We were able to convince her, meron lang (there is just) probably repackaging or retooling on how it’s going to be presented pero (but) she is convinced that indeed the Philippine Anti-Drug Strategy (PADS) is already a strategy that can be adapted outright,” Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge, Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa told reporters on the sidelines of a gun show in Mandaluyong City.
Gamboa met with Robredo and other members of the law enforcement cluster of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) to discuss the country’s existing anti-drug strategy.
“It had become a byword kasi parang madali syang maalala, parang kantong usapan (it is easy to remember because it is like street language). She’s also convinced that (Oplan) Tokhang does not mean anything bad. Tokhang came from a Visayan word, kung titingnan mo yun (if you will look into it), there’s no killing in tokhang. That’s it, letting the people feel the existence of strategy,” Gamboa added.
Gamboa said the meeting with Robredo went well.
“She is convinced after studying the Tokhang, Double Barrel, Double Barrel Alpha Reloaded and now the community-based. ‘All are in order,’ were her exact words,” Gamboa said.
“It’s a community-based (approach). (All of these are) geared towards the declaration of drug-free barangays. We all have one track in mind there and we agreed on these initial steps to move forward,” he stressed.
According to Gamboa, Robredo had pointed out three things that need to be focused on the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.
“‘Yung going forward, second is measuring success and coming up with unified figures. All of these things are addressed already by ICAD even before. It’s just a matter of letting her understand that these things have already existed,” Gamboa said.
On Robredo’s seeking of the help of the United States (US), Gamboa said the PNP has been coordinating with the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Gamboa proposed strict enforcement along borders to stop the shipment of illegal drugs into the country.
He also believes that the country’s seeking intelligence information on illegal drugs from foreign counterparts is “essential.”
“We are convinced that a lot of our drugs are coming from the outside,” Gamboa added.
Earlier, Gamboa vowed to fully support Robredo particularly in briefing her about the law enforcement aspect of the anti-drug drive.
He also said the PNP is ready for any possible changes in the drug war after Robredo sought its reassessment.
He, however, said there is no need for the country’s second-highest ranking official to join anti-illegal drug operations.