Concern on the safety of barangay officials is being raised in relation to the implementation of Oplan Tokhang (tok-tok hangyo or knock and persuade) in the city as the village authorities would be among those in the frontlines of the police operation.
In Oplan Tokhang, barangay authorities will be tasked to list down drug personalities in their respective areas, and this could prompt drug suspects to retaliate and target the village officials, said Board Member Romulo Cepedusa, president of the Liga ng mga Barangay in Bohol.
According to Cepedusa, it would be difficult to completely prevent reprisal from drug groups as the barangay officials would put them in the targets of the authorities who would do the rounds to knock on suspectsâ€™ doors to convince them to cease their involvement in illegal activities.
Officials such as barangay captains and councilors would likely be helpless to fend off any acts of retribution from suspects who would be subjects of Oplan Tokhang, he added.
Cepedusa also said that he is supporting the police operation, but noted that sufficient protection for barangay officials who would also be among those to face drug suspects in Oplan Tokhang should be provided.
The group is also asking to be completely briefed on the full details of how the operation will be carried out so the barangay officials may prepare themselves.
The police operation which is backed by the joint efforts of city and barangay officials is intended to decrease illegal drug activities in Tagbilaran City without the use of force, and will be implemented in 15 barangays in the provinceâ€™s capital. (with reports from Allen Doydora)