PNP chief: 'Bloodless' Tokhang to start this January

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 12) — The Philippine National Police (PNP) is set to relaunch its controversial anti-drug operations this month, and the chief vows it will be "bloodless" this time.

"Ang kaibahan is siniguro namin na at patuloy na sisiguruhin na totoong Tokhang ang gawin hindi 'yung pasukan ng kalokohan ng pulis," PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa told reporters on Friday.

[Translation: "The difference is we assure and we continue to assure that the real Tokhang will happen and will not be abused by the police."]

After all, Oplan Tokhang, the police's flagship anti-drug campaign, was really meant to have zero casualty, dela Rosa said.

"Tokhang" is a composite of two Visayan words, "toktok," which means to knock, and "hangyo," or to plead. Teams led by police and local officials go from house to house in an area, knocking on doors of suspects and pleading with them to end their drug use or turn themselves in.

"Bloodless talaga ang Oplan Tokhang kasi ang spirit ng Tokhang kung iimplement mo properly is knock and plead lang… Katok at pakiusap. Wala ngang hulihan dito e," dela Rosa said.

[Translation: "Oplan Tokhang is really bloodless because the spirit of Tokhang if implemented properly is just knock and plead. There are no arrests."]

He said policemen are not even supposed to arrest drug suspects if they are not doing any violation at the time of the operation.

Guidelines will be finalized by next week for the return of Oplan Tokhang, dela Rosa said.

Oplan Tokhang has been suspended for the second time in October 2017 at President Rodrigo Duterte's order. He tasked the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to take over the country's anti-drug operations amid alleged police abuses.

Earlier police operations often resulted in deaths, with policemen claiming the suspects were "nanlaban" or showed resistance.

All in all, over 3,900 suspects were killed in anti-drug operations since the start of the bloody drug war in July 2016, PDEA data show.

CNN Philippines' Eimor Santos contributed to this report.