Cagayan Valley police run after 'high-value' drug traders

ISABELA, Philippines – After thousands of drug pushers and users surrendered to authorities in Cagayan Valley in just two weeks, regional police are now after drug traders listed as "high-value targets."

"We just evaluated the drug watch list and we are now going after the high-value targets," Police Chief Superintendent Gilbert Sosa, acting Region 2 police director, said in a mix of Filipino and English on Friday, July 15.

Sosa said the names of these "big-time" drug personalities would not be released yet, so as not to alert them.

He said that he will not protect and tolerate police officials who will be tested positive in using illegal drugs.

Sosa, who witnessed the surprise drug test on different town police chiefs in Isabela, also warned police officers who have yet to comply with the anti-illegal drugs campaign, especially the Oplan TokHang of the PNP.

“TokHang” is a contraction of “toktok” and “hangyo” – Visayan words for “knock” and “request,” respectively. It refers to the strategy of the police nationwide to go house-to-house in their jurisdictions and convince known drug pushers and users to surrender and be given an opportunity for rehabilitation.

Sosa said about 4 town police stations in the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino have yet to submit their accomplishment reports on their respectice anti-drug war.

In Cagayan Valley, nearly 8,000 drug users and drug pushers surrendered to authorities from July 1 to 14, just two weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte assumed to office.

Police Chief Inspector Chevalier Iringan said 7,101 were illegal drug users, while 652 were drug pushers.

Isabela province has the biggest number of surrenderers at 3,032.

At least 6 killings of alleged drug suspects were reported in the region, two of them happened in a shootout with police after resisting arrests. One involved

Meanwhile, Isabela Governor Faustino "Bojie" Dy III also ordered a surprise drug test on the province's mayors.

At least 24 mayors had the drug test during an "emergency" meeting of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines-Isabela Chapter. –