What’s ‘Tokhang’ plan for co­caine?

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TOPSTORY! - NINI B. CABAERO

THE lat­est drug scare in the coun­try is the rise in the num­ber of blocks of co­caine be­ing found float­ing in Philip­pine wa­ters.

For this month alone, po­lice said some P200 mil­lion worth of co­caine was found on the shores of Siar­gao Is­land in Suri­gao del Norte, Di­na­gat Is­land, Ca­marines Norte and Que­zon prov­ince. The co­caine, placed in­side boxes wrapped in brown pack­ag­ing tape to keep the wa­ter out, were found by lo­cal res­i­dents who handed them over to the po­lice.

This drug threat is dif­fer­ent from the shabu trade which has been the tar­get of the gov­ern­ment’s war on drugs. Law en­force­ment agen­cies would have to ad­dress this threat dif­fer­ently be­cause their Oplan Tokhang that tar­gets mostly the shabu trade is not ad­e­quate for co­caine brought in by sea and by in­ter­na­tional play­ers.

A CNN Philip­pines time­line on the float­ing co­caine blocks showed that more co­caine was found in Philip­pine wa­ters in Fe­bru­ary this year com­pared to the whole of 2018. Cit­ing Philip­pine Drug En­force­ment Agency (PDEA) records, the re­port said some 92.78 kilo­grams of co­caine were re­cov­ered in six in­ci­dents recorded as of Feb. 20. To­tal value was pegged at P491.25 mil­lion. For the whole of 2018, the PDEA recorded the dis­cov­ery and con­fis­ca­tion of P417.81 mil­lion worth of co­caine.

Co­caine’s street value in the Philip­pines ranges from P4,500 to P5,300 per gram-–more ex­pen­sive by a thou­sand pe­sos than the preva­lent metham­phetamine or shabu, the CNN Philip­pines re­port said.

Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte said last week in­ter­na­tional drug syn­di­cates are now in the coun­try. “The news that you hear ev­ery day about the float­ing drugs all around the coun­try is that re­ally we have con­firmed that Si­naloa and Medellin car­tels are in the trade now. It has al­ways been co­caine from Mex­ico,” Duterte said. The Si­naloa car­tel is no­to­ri­ous in Mex­ico while the Medellin car­tel is based in Colom­bia.

The PDEA said these syn­di­cates are us­ing the Philip­pines as “trans­ship­ment point” where the co­caine is smug­gled, repacked, and sent to Hong Kong, Tai­wan, China and other coun­tries in the re­gion. The Si­naloa car­tel, it added, may be work­ing with Chi­nese syn­di­cates in the coun­try.

Some of those co­caine blocks were found to have global po­si­tion­ing sys­tem or GPS which, the PDEA said, warned syn­di­cate mem­bers of ar­eas to avoid or if the co­caine has been found.

With the dis­cov­ery of the co­caine blocks, the PDEA and other law en­force­ment agen­cies have to come up with a strat­egy to ad­dress this new threat and new modus. The po­lice had Oplan Tokhang, a na­tion­wide cam­paign to visit sus­pected drug per­son­al­i­ties to con­vince them to stop their il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties and seek re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. Tokhang is taken from the Bisaya words “tok­tok” (knock) and “hangyo” (ask).

What is the coun­ter­part of Oplan Tokhang to ad­dress the re­ported rise of co­caine in the coun­try? What mea­sures are be­ing taken that are dif­fer­ent from the cam­paign against the shabu trade? This is the new chal­lenge posed to en­forcers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.