By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine National Police (PNP) highlighted yesterday the importance of strengthening community-based rehabilitation efforts as out of the total 1.3 million drug surrenderers so far, only 180,000 have graduated from various recovery and wellness programs across the country.
Speaking at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum held in Malate, Manila, PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said that the efforts of the community in helping the national government to wipe out the problems of illegal drugs will be critical to President Duterte’s continuing war on drugs.
According to the PNP’s Internal Affairs Service (IAS), a total of 189,816 drug surrenderers have graduated from various recovery and wellness programs both initiated by the national police force and community centers from July 1, 2016 to May 15, 2018.
“Una, hindi pa nakasama dyan ‘yung projects initiated by the church, marami po ‘yan even here in Metro Manila. But then again, kahit isama natin ‘yan maliit pa rin compared sa almost 1.3 million drug surrenderers,” Albayalde said.
“Kaya nga napakaimportante ng sinasabing community-based rehabilitation, ‘yung participation ng ating local chief executives,” he added.
When the PNP headed Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs campaign in July 2016, it was mainly anchored on Oplan Tokhang, a coined term which translates to Cebuano words “toktok” or to knock and “hangyo” or to make a plea.
Its aim is for the police officers to knock on the houses of suspected drug personalities and encourage them to surrender.
If a drug suspect subjected to Tokhang agrees to surrender, he or she will be documented and assessed for rehabilitation.
Usually, the length of the rehabilitation process lasts from to 15 to 30 days, up to several months depending on the intensity of a suspect’s drug addiction.
However, Albayalde admitted that there were several barriers which could have affected their rehabilitation efforts, thus, resulting to the low number of drug recoverees.