PNP orders listing of top 10 regional drug targets

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

POLICE regional offices have been told to list down the top 10 medium- to high-value targets, as the Philippine National Police (PNP) aims to strengthen the government's crackdown on illegal drugs.

PNP officer-in-charge Lieutenant General Archie Gamboa said Monday, January 6, 2020, that he made the directive to identify their priority in terms of conducting police operations.

“Kaya ako nagpapasubmit ng top 10 so that we are able to determine in terms of priority, kasi ang una natin, gusto (natin) ma-identify at ma-neutralize. Ibig sabihin, aplayan natin ng search warrant or mahuli natin sa buy-bust, then ito ‘yung mga priority ng different regions,” he said in a press conference in Camp Crame.

(I ordered the regional offices to submit the top 10 so we can prioritize, identify and neutralize those high-value targets. This means that we can then issue search warrants or arrest them in buy-bust operations.)

“Of course, meron din kami priorities sa national. There is a continuing appreciation on the drug problem at the regional level and down so si region meron priority, si province meron priority, si city and municipality may priority, so that each of the different units in the PNP would have their own respective priorities in terms of HVTs (high-valued targets),” he added.

Gamboa said that for the national level, those who are on the list are those involved in the importation and distribution of large amount of illegal drugs.

He said targeting the high-value drug personalities is part of President Rodrigo Duterte's order.

“Even the President has a directive ‘yung sa HVTs, which you cannot actually neutralize kapag hindi sya evidence-based. So it will be all evidence-based. There are even questions on probable custody ng mga drugs, recycling, etc. All of these things will be addressed for the year 2020,” he said.

He also clarified that operations against street-level drug personalities will still continue.

"We still expect our lower units lalo na ‘yung mga DEUs sa baba to still implement and reduce demand by going after the small-value targets," he said.

Gamboa also said that the PNP will distribute body cameras by April or May this year to ensure the transparency of their anti-illegal drug operations. (SunStar Philippines)