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Thursday, August 4, 2016

“Oplan Tokhang” nets over 38,000 drug users, pushers in ZamPen

By Gideon C. Corgue

ZAMBOANGA CITY – “We are overwhelmed by the huge number of drug users and pushers—at least 38,255, who surrendered to the Philippine National Police (PNP).”

Thus disclosed Chief Supt. Billy B. Beltran, PNP-9 regional director during the official launching of the Kapihan sa Garden Orchid Hotel at the Lobby Bar.

Kapihan sa Garden Orchid is a 1-hour weekly tri-media public affairs talk show on issues and public information hosted by the Philippine Information Agency in partnership with the local press.

Beltran said Operation Tokhang or “Oplan Tokhang,” a contraction of the Visayan words “Toktok” (knock) and “Hangyo” (request) .has stirred up a massive wave of drug pushers and users surrendering to authorities nationwide.
Under the program which was launched nationwide on July 1, the police, local government units and barangay officials visit the houses of drug users and pushers, and convince them to surrender for rehabilitation. 
As of July 31, Beltran said a total of 38,255 drug personalities in Zamboanga Peninsula have surrendered to police and local authorities under the intensified anti-illegal drugs campaign of the PNP.
Beltran said Zamboanga del Sur has the highest number of drug users and pushers who surrendered to authorities with 13,955 surrenderees; followed by Zamboanga del Norte with 10,000; Zamboanga Sibugay - 8,700, and Zamboanga City - 5,600.

“With these huge number of surrenderees, 15 died because they chose to fight  it out with the police,” Beltran reported.

PRO9 is one of the leading regions of the PNP with highest number of drug personalities who surrendered as far as full implementation of Oplan Tokang is concerned.

Meanwhile, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA9) acting regional director Levi Ortiz said the Oplan Tokhang, President Rodrigo Duterte’s blueprint for its war on drugs has a big impact on drug personalities.

“With more than 38,000 drug personalities who surrendered to the authorities, it lightened up our workload,” Ortiz said saying that some drug users, pushers and drug lords are hiding for fear of being arrested or killed.

“The supply and demand of illegal drugs in region 9 significantly reduced  because the PDEA and PNP have tightened security measures in the Zamboanga Peninsula to prevent the entry of illegal drugs,” Ortiz concluded.