15 killed, 12,000 drug users, pushers “surrender” in Davao region

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 10 July) – Fifteen persons were killed while nearly 12,000 users and pushers in the five-province Davao region (Region 11) have “surrendered” to authorities since the launch of the nationwide Oplan Tokhang (knock and plead) on July 1.

A total 11,606 drug users and 332 drug pushers in the provinces of Davao Sur, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Davao Occidental and Compostela Valley and their component cities of Digos, Tagum, Panabo, Samal, and Davao City, presented themselves to authorities between July 1 and 5 a.m. on July 10, 5 since the implementation of nationwide Oplan Tokhang (Toktok Hangyo or Knock and Plead) on July 1.

Data from Police Regional Office (PRO) 11 revealed that Davao Del Norte recorded the most number with 3,496 drug users and 94 drug pushers, followed by Davao Oriental’s 3,466 users and 72 pushers, Compostela Valley province with 2,268 users and 130 pushers, Davao City with 1,299 drug users and nine pushers, Davao del Sur with 720 users and 14 pushers, and Davao Occidental with 357 users and 13 pushers.

PRO 11 spokesperson Andrea Dela Cerna said in a text message Sunday that the 15 persons who were killed resisted arrest or fired at the police.

Davao City Police Office (DCPO) director Michael John Dubria maintained that police follow protocols in all operations and they do not shoot the suspects unless they fight with authorities.

“They were killed because they fought it out with the police,” he said.

Dubria also said he retained the program of his predecessor, Senior Supt. Vicente Danao Jr.,
“Isumbong mo Kay CD,” that allows the public to report directly to the local police chief any illegal drug operations in the community.

“We are intensifying anti-illegal drug operations in the region in line with the directives of the PNP chief Ronald Dela Rosa under Project Double Barrel, “by implementing Oplan Tokhang and Project High Value Targets,” Dela Cerna said.

She said PRO 11 requires station commanders to deliver a significant performance in the fight against drugs within six weeks. Failing to do so, they will be relieved from their positions, she said.

President Rodrigo Duterte had vowed during his campaign sorties that he will stop illegal drugs and other forms of criminality within three to six months.

Dela Cerna said they intend to have an impact on the community, not just in having the most number of people turning themselves in .

PCG-Davao acting station commander LCDR Resituto Concio Jr. told a press conference last week that they were planning to hold random inspection on domestic or foreign vessels in the region to intercept smuggled goods and illegal drugs.

“We will prioritize those vessels coming from Taiwan and China making port of call in the region,” he said.

The PCG-Davao has already coordinated with other law enforcement agencies. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)