Leftists cry foul over police 'Oplan Tokhang'

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 02 2016 02:32 PM

MANILA - Government forces are going after activists under the guise of President Rodrigo Duterte's door-to-door campaign to flush out drug addicts, a peace consultant for communist rebels said Friday.

Using the police "Oplan Tokhang," authorities have been knocking on doors targeting peasant leaders and community organizers, said Rey Casambre, a consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace panel.

"Talagang meron silang paglilista, paggamit nung anti-drug campaign to go after the militant activists," he told a forum.

(They are drawing a list, using the anti-drug campaign to go after militant activists.)

The human rights group Karapatan cited the case of four farmers arrested in Bulacan in October for allegedly violating drug laws.

But they belonged to a group campaigning against land-grabbing in San Jose Del Monte town, said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general.

"Under the guise of (Oplan) 'Tokhang,' they have been terrorizing these communities," she said.

Palabay said soldiers were also using the tack to conduct a "census" and identify left-leaning activists in the countryside.