The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday vowed to respect human rights after a peace and order council ordered an alleged "tokhang"-style of operations against communist groups in Cordillera.
In a statement, PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar expressed appreciation of the “Dumanun Makituntong” (Seek and Talk) plan of the Cordillera Regional Peace and Order Council.
However, he pointed out that they will balance it with the PNP’s commitment in respecting human rights.
“We will provide assistance in a way that will strike a balance between our collective goal of defeating the CPP-NPA-NDF and our commitment to respect and uphold the basic human rights of every Filipino,” he said, referring to the Communist Party of the Philippines and its allied wings, the New People's Army and the National Democratic Front.
"Tokhang" has become synonymous with the Duterte administration's war against drugs, which human rights groups said has resulted in the deaths of thousands of suspects.
Eleazar said he instructed the director of the Police Regional Office Cordillera to coordinate with the peace and order council regarding the Dumanun Makituntong.
On Tuesday, UP Rises Against Tyranny and Dictatorship - UP Baguio called out the order, warning that intensified attacks against organizations and individuals may happen.
The group said Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Council (RLECC) No. 06, s. 2021 enjoins law enforcers, local government units, religious groups, and non-government organizations to hunt down members of supposed communist front organizations.
“This is no different from the proposed Resolution No. 4, s. 2021 of the RLECC to implement a ‘tokhang’-style hunt on left-leaning personalities,” the group said.
“Although there are existing prevalent attacks on activists, with the resolution passed, more lives could be at risk,” it added. —Joviland Rita/KBK, GMA News