The Bohol Provincial Police Office (BPPO) on Monday expressed support for the Philippine National Policeâ€™s (PNP) plan to include priests and pastors in carrying out â€œOplan Tokhangâ€ which is set to be relaunched soon while the Catholic Church appeared likely to decline the invitation.
BPPO spokesperson Sr. Insp. Vincent Dumaguing said that priests or pastors will play a crucial role in convincing drug personalities to end involvement in illegal drug activities.
The BPPOâ€™s stand was announced following the proposal of PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa to revamp the program now dubbed â€œOplan Tokhang Part 2â€ by having body cameras and priests during the implementation of the campaign.
For his part, Tagbilaran City police chief Supt. Nicomedes Olaivar said that he is open to engage in talks with the Catholic Church and other religious groups regarding the proposal.
According to Olaivar, the plan was a â€œwelcome developmentâ€ as he suggested involvement from the religious sector not just in Oplan Tokhang, but also in other operations as well.
Olaivar said that it would also be ideal to have representatives from the religious sector witness the inventory after anti-drug campaigns to show processes involved in such operations.
However, Fr. Algerio PaÃ±a, chancellor of the Diocese of Tagbilaran, cited the separation between Church work and police operations as he pointed out that representatives from the sector are not needed in such proceedings.
PaÃ±a said that the Church extends â€œmoral and spiritualâ€ support for the police while it will continue to preach and keep the public from doing evil through the Bibleâ€™s teachings.
Meanwhile, the BPPO through its provincial director, Sr. Supt. Felipe Natividad, has briefed police stations across the province regarding the imminent relaunch of Oplan Tokhang as they await implementing plans from Camp Crame.
Oplan Tokhang and Project Double Barrel, the Duterte administrationâ€™s primary campaigns against illegal drugs, were suspended last month after several policemen allegedly abducted and killed Korean trader Jee Ick Joo inside the PNP headquarters in Quezon City. (Allen Doydora and Rey Tutas)