Priests of the Diocese of Tagbilaran can join policemen in carrying out Oplan Tokhang as long as they take extra caution as the operation can be dangerous.
This was the stance conveyed by Tagbilaran City Bishop Abet Uy to media on Wednesday after the police last week invited representatives from the religious sector to join the campaignâ€™s implementation.
Uy said that he is not encouraging or requiring priests to be part of Oplan Tokhang, one of the governmentâ€™s main initiatives against illegal drugs.
However, Uy said that he is also not barring them from joining the operation wherein police visit suspected drug personalities and urge them to mend their ways.
He said that he understands the purpose of involving the Catholic Church in the operation as he pointed out that priests’ intervention could help in the process of convincing suspects to end involvement in the drug trade.
The bishop pointed out that that the Church has its own means and programs that are meant to support the governmentâ€™s anti-drug campaign.
For instance, the Diocese of Talibonâ€™s community-based Drug Rehabilitation Program without Walls is being expanded by the provincial government for implementation in the entire province, he said.
Meanwhile, Tagbilaran City police chief Supt. Nicomedes Olaivar said that Oplan Tokhang has not yet been officially re-implemented even after the launch of Oplan Double Barrel: Reloaded, the governmentâ€™s new blueprint for its war on drugs.
According to Olaivar, they are still awaiting the go-signal from Camp Crame to carry out the operation.
The capitalâ€™s police chief also said that they have not yet conversed with the Catholic Church regarding the proposed involvement of priests in the implementation of the initiative.
But the police official noted that some members of the religious sector have already been extending support for the police in its crackdown on illegal drug activities as he expressed optimism that this will be sustained even if they do not join Oplan Tokhang. (Rey Tutas and Allen Doydora)Â