PNP set to work with PDEA as Oplan Tokhang, Double Barrel resume

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(FIle photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 6) — Don't be surprised to see policemen knocking on doors in the coming days as Oplan Tokhang is set to return.

The Philippine National Police's (PNP) Anti-Illegal Drugs campaigns Oplan Tokhang and Oplan Double Barrel will resume after President Rodrigo Duterte gave the PNP the green light to rejoin the government's war on drugs.

READ: Duterte allows police to go back to drug war

PNP Spokesperson Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos says Tokhang and Double Barrel remain the PNP's strategy in carrying out its anti-illegal drugs operations.

Carlos said talks on when operations will start are ongoing.

But since the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is still the lead agency in the drug war, the police need to defer to them. Under the law, the PDEA is the agency that is in charge of this anti-illegal drug campaign.

READ: PNP to resume 'Oplan Tokhang,' 'Oplan Double Barrel' anti-drug ops

PDEA said the PNP is free to pursue Oplan Tokhang and Oplan Double Barrel, but stressed the police need prior coordination with them on any anti-illegal drug activities.

This has been acknowledged by the PNP.

Once on-the-spot operations - like during caught-in-the-act situations are carried-out - the PNP must submit PDEA a report

PDEA spokesperson Derrick Carreon said operational coordination meetings are needed, and if a target is a high-value one, the PDEA has to be with them.

The group Human Rights Watch says allowing the PNP to return to the drug war means a rise in alleged extrajudicial killings.

The group claimed that there were more than 12,000 deaths related to the Duterte administration's war on illegal drugs.

But official records state that less than 4,000 drug suspects were killed in legitimate police operations: 34 by PDEA agents and 3,933 by the police.

The PNP gave its assurance that measures are in place to prevent operations from becoming bloody.

Among these measures include wearing body cameras to record operations, being more cautious while conducting operations, and getting rid of corrupt and abusive cops from the PNP.

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Carlos said this is to meant prevent casualties and rogue policemen to take advantage of the situation.

But the PNP said if policemen's lives are in danger, they will not have any choice but to defend themselves.