When ‘Oplan Tokhang’ (‘Tokhang’ is the conglomeration of ‘toktok’ and ‘hangyo’ which are Visayan terms for ‘knock’ and ‘plead’) was launched by the Philippine National Police (PNP), thousands of drug users and pushers across the country surrendered to the authorities – but many citizens couldn’t help but lament how the operations are only affecting the poor communities because the gated subdivisions of the rich do not allow just about anyone to enter, even the police!
For weeks, many ranted about ‘Oplan Tokhang’ being unfair to the poor masses – and accused the president as well as the police chief of playing favorites and turning a blind eye from the rich drug addicts and users.
Well, the police force has proven this is not the case. After explaining their purpose and methods to some homeowners’ organizations from the subdivisions, a positive response has finally been received.
One of these organizations has agreed to let the police in so they can conduct their Tokhang operations but while they have freely gone to homes in many parts of the country to ‘toktok’ and ‘hangyo’ these drug users and pushers to surrender and change their ways, the Tokhang in the gated subdivisions are slightly modified.
The police can’t just go to the homes of these suspected users and pushers without asking permission from the local officials – and they must be accompanied by officers of the village or subdivision before they can conduct the operation.
This might still be viewed by some people as ‘unfair’ and ‘biased’ treatment in favor of the rich but it is already a step in the right direction. We commend the PNP for a job well done and the homeowners’ association for helping out the cops.
There are groups and individuals such as Atty. Milagros Isabel Cristobal, however, who expressed concern that the Tokhang operations are a violation of the law and the people’s rights, especially because the homes in the villages are private property.
Do you think Tokhang operations should not include the gated subdivisions?