By Martin Sadongdong
The public will continue to get updates on the national government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign as the Philippine National Police (PNP) cleared several issues raised on why they have stopped giving data to the media.
Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, PNP spokesperson, assured that they will remain transparent as to the details of the Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded, including its two main operation plans dubbed as Oplan HVT (High-Value Target) and Oplan Tokhang (Knock and plead).
However, he stated the PNP has to be in coordination with the data being released by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), which is now leading the drug war, to avoid public confusion.
“We did not stop giving updates but there’s a guidance from Malacañang to make sure that the data we are releasing should be the precise data that we are getting to avoid conflict,” Bulalacao said when asked why the PNP had stopped giving updates on the drug war.
“The reason why there appears conflicting figures is that we are releasing data to the media, the PDEA also does, sometimes even the DOJ [Department of Justice] and NBI [National Bureau of Investigation, too,” he added.
This was the reason cited by Bulalacao why the PNP would consult the PDEA first before releasing drug war data to the public. He also noted that the PDEA has been assigned to maintain the government’s information campaign on the crackdown against illegal drugs through the #RealNumbersPH.
“With PDEA being the lead agency on the campaign against illegal drugs, the agency is the one tasked to maintain the real numbers. The instruction is that we should follow the orders from Malacañang,” he explained.
The PNP spokesperson said they are expected to start releasing consolidated and coordinated drug war data by this week.
Reports from various law enforcement agencies showed that as of April 1, 2018, a total of 4,128 persons have been killed since the drug war was launched in July 2016 while 130,271 have been arrested. Oplan Tokhang has also resulted in the surrender of about 1.3 million drug suspects, the PNP said.