PNP eyes top 10 ‘high-value’ drug targets per region
By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa on Monday vowed to continue the government’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs by focusing on high-value targets (HVTs) in every region.
Gamboa directed PNP regional directors to submit a list of 10 medium to HVTs engaged in illegal drug trades per region in a bid to strengthen the Duterte administration’s crackdown against illegal drugs.
“Gusto natin ma-identify at ma-neutralize, neutralize ibig sabihin aplayan natin ng search warrant or mahuli natin sa buy-bust then ito ‘yung mga priority ng different regions (We want to identify and neutralize, meaning we will apply search warrant or catch them in a buy-bust then this is our priority in different regions),” Gamboa said in a press conference at Camp Crame.
He said the PNP is strengthening its efforts to ensure that the arrest of HVTs would be based on evidence.
“Even the President has a directive ‘yung sa (that the) HVTs which you cannot actually neutralize kapag hindi siya (if not) evidence-based. So it will be all evidence-based. There are even questions on probable custody ng mga (of the) drugs, recycling etc. all of these things will be addressed for the year 2020,” he said.
“The intensification of the Intelligence-driven anti-illegal drugs campaign particularly against upper and middle-level high-value targets engaged in trafficking of a commercial quantity of illegal drugs 50 grams or more,” he added.
Though the PNP will go after the medium to HVTs in every region, Gamboa said the lower units of the PNP’s anti-drug enforcement, particularly at the municipal and city levels, will continue their campaign against small value drug targets.
“Of course we have priorities at the national level. There is a continuing appreciation of the drug problem at the regional level and down. So the region has priority, the province has priority, city and municipality have priority so that each of the different units in the PNP would have their own respective priorities in terms of HVTs,” he explained.
Gamboa said he ordered the regional directors as well as the Police Drug Enforcement Group not to interfere with the work of the municipal and city drug enforcement units (DEUs).
“Dito kayo sa taas. So dito ‘yung delineation (So you focus here on the upper level. Your delineation will be here). So we still expect our lower units lalo na ‘yung mga DEUs sa baba (particularly the DEUs at the lower level) to still implement and reduce demand by going after the small value targets,” he said.
Gamboa, however, clarified that the police will continue their efforts on both supply and demand reduction, including street drug pushing.
“Tuloy pa rin naman because hindi puwedeng mag-emphasize ka lang sa supply iwanan mo ‘yung demand, dalawa pa rin because meron misinterpretation na parang iiwanan na namin ‘yung street level, no continuing pa rin yun (This will continue because you cannot emphasize on supply and not on demand. We will still focus on these two because there is misinterpretation that will abandon the street level. It will continue),” he said.
He said body cameras will be distributed in April and May in order to ensure the transparency of the anti-illegal drugs operations.
“This has been demanded by the public so it’s coming to the PNP around April or May of this year and we will use it (body camera) not only on drug operations but in other operations including checkpoints,” he said. (PNA)