DILG agrees to drop the plan to use Oplan Tokhang drop box

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) agreed not to push through with their plan to implement the Oplan Tokhang drop box system to gather anonymous tips and complaints about the government’s war against drugs.

This happened after Senator Risa Hontiveros questioned the guidelines enumerated in the DILG memo about how the system under a community-based program called Masa Masid should be implemented.
The system was established to encourage residents to report illegal drug activities and criminality, such as writing the names of the suspects and submitting them in drop boxes.

“I strongly suggest to the DILG to eliminate drop boxes from its anti-drug campaign. It will only be prone to malice and abuse,” Hontiveros said on October 11 during her Senate interpellation in the deliberation over DILG’s 2018 budget.

“Sabi nga ng iba, the more entries you send, the more chances of killing. So I strongly suggest, sa halip na out-of-the-box drop boxes, I strongly suggest to the DILG to drop the box,” she added.

Hontiveros was one of those who also spoke out against the use of the drop boxes, along with other lawmakers, groups, and individual netizens.
The agency’s sponsor for their 2018 budget, Senator JV Ejercito, said that the DILG and PNP were listening and understood her point.

“Your honor, we are listening. The DILG, PNP officials are here and they understand your point, the points you have raised. They are willing to drop the box,” Ejercito said.

“That’s thinking out of the box…Let it be put on record that they agreed to eliminate the drop boxes,” Hontiveros responded.

The P500 million budget intended for the Masa Masid program can be spent on anti-drug abuse council, other regional and local development councils, and more.

Some netizens voiced out concerns about how the Oplan Tokhang drop boxes can be easily misused, for instance, by people who want to bring their enemies down. Hontiveros and other lawmakers also suggested more rules-based ways to gather information about crimes and illegal drug activities in the neighborhoods instead of using the drop boxes.

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