Tuesday, July 12, 2016

(Update) 6,371 drug personalities surrender in Bicol region
By Jorge Hallare

LEGAZPI CITY, July 11 (PNA) -— Since the Police Regional Office 5 (PRO5) launched “Operation Tokhang” that involves going from door-to-door in neighborhoods of suspected drug users and pushers, it has recorded 6,371 drug personalities who have surrendered in various police stations in the Bicol region, within a span of two weeks, an updated report showed on Monday afternoon.

An earlier report by the same office on Monday morning recorded 1,595 drug personalities who took an oath never to be a drug user and pusher again.

Through Operation Tokhang, culled from the Visayan term that means to knock on doors and make an appeal, the police was able to visit 898 houses around Bicol.

The campaign is an offshoot of “Project Double Barrel" wherein law enforcers went around areas suspected as haven of illegal drug activities to get both high value targets — the “big personalities” — and the “street-level” ones.

Chief Supt.Melvin Ramon Buenafe, 15th director of Police Regional Office 5 (PRO5) who assumed in an “acting” capacity after turnover ceremonies at Camp Simeon Ola, headquarters of PRO5 in this city, on July 4, said the number of surrenderees was an indication of Bicol police’s “eagerness” to stop the drug menace within the shortest possible time.

President Rodrigo Duterte and Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa gave the police a six-month deadline to eliminate the drug scourge.

The 6,371 drug personalities included 5,774 drug dependents or users and 597 pushers.

Of the 6,371 drug personalities, Albay has recorded 1,679 who surrendered, Camarines Sur - 1,941, Naga City - 133, Catanduanes - 185, Masbate - 532, Sorsogon - 1,009 and Camarines Norte - 892.

During Operation Tokhang, Bicol police confiscated 135 plastic sachets or 10,967.92 grams of "shabu" (methamphetamine hydrochloride), 7 plastic sachets of marijuana, 12 assorted firearms and three hand grenades.

PRO5 also arrested 71 suspected drug peddlers and killed nine suspects who engaged in a shootout with PNP operatives during buy bust operations. Among those killed, two were in Albay, three in Camarines Sur, one in Camarines Norte and three in Sorsogon.

Buenafe said the Bicol police mounted 18 various operations aided by search warrants, 11 buy bust operations, 29 police operations and 21 “other operations” as part of the campaign.

Aside from operations conducted by PRO5, the Criminal and Investigation Detection Group in Bicol headed by Senior Supt. Marlon Tejada launched a separate operation called “Oplan Big Bertha” aimed against drug personalities in Barangays Penafrancia and Balatas in Naga City on July 2.

The operation done with the help of the National Bureau of Investigation in Bicol and the Regional Public Safety Battalion of the PNP resulted in the arrest of 57 drug personalities in the region. (PNA) LAP/GVR/JH/CBD