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Lawmakers, groups, netizens react to QCPD’s plan to implement ‘Oplan Tokhang’ drop box



Quezon City will implement the use of ‘Oplan Tokhang’ drop box this week to collect anonymous complaints or tips in the pursuit of the government’s war against drugs.

The boxes will be made of bright blue fiberglass boxes and will be distributed to the city’s 142 barangays by the Quezon City Police District (QCPD).

The idea behind the box is not entirely new since Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, QCPD director, said they started urging the barangays to put up drop boxes since July 2016 to gather more tips on illegal drugs and crimes from the residents themselves. However, the design of the boxes was only finalized this September.

At first, each barangay is left to its own devices to design the box, with earlier media reports saying the box was marked with this direct instruction to “drop here names of suspected illegal pushers/users.”

But now, the standard design is a 12-cubic-inch box formally described as the “Oplan Tokhang Suggestions and Complaints Drop Box.” It also carried the logos of the QCPD, the Quezon City government, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Department of Interior and Local Government, and the Dangerous Drugs Board.

Eleazar explained that aside from tips about illegal drugs suspects, the boxes are also meant to gather complaints from the residents about any of the QCPD members, who will be investigated if they commit abuses.

The drop box idea was slammed by human rights groups in July over concerns that this crowd-sourcing type of activity may be used to come up with a “hit list” for questionable police operations or vigilante killings.

But the QCPD chief assured that the names they will still validate the information they get from the drop boxes. He emphasized that the boxes were only meant to encourage “community participation,” knowing that the residents themselves are more familiar with their neighborhood.

“The information gathered would only be for case buildup. If we don’t have evidence, we cannot make an arrest,” he said.

Eleazar said that the box is also meant to function like a hotline, but for tipsters who do not have access to cell phones.

Drop box memo

The use of drop boxes was part of DILG’s order for local governments under a program called “Masa Masid” or Mamayang Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamayang Ayaw sa Droga. DILG issued a memo in August for the revised guidelines of the program, including putting up drop boxes to gather more information about illegal drugs, crime, corruption, and other threats to security and peace.


The same memo also advised local government units on what to do when opening the drop boxes. It should be done in the presence of at least 6 members of a technical working committee at 4 pm every Thursday, reported Inquirer. Only the cop assigned as “focal person” in the barangay will unlock the box, as barangay officials and representatives of the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse and Advisory Council (BADAC), faith-based groups, the Liga ng mga Barangay, and civil society groups look on. The same people should monitor, segregate, assess, and refer the information to the concerned government agencies.

Lawmakers, groups, netizens react

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) president Edre Olalia described the program as a “dangerous shortcut” in the war against drugs that may “divide and polarize” the residents due to suspicion and intrigue.

Olalia suggested for the police to continue with “good, old-fashioned police work that is scientific, systematic and credible.”

Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin echoed the same thoughts.

“If [the] government really wants crimes solved and for it to address the so-called drug menace properly, there is no substitute for objective, science-based, consistent law enforcement and no-nonsense investigation work,” Villarin said.

“Such [a] move is highly questionable and opens up potential human rights violations,” he added.

Senator Risa Hontiveros hit the DILG for proposing the use of drop boxes.

“The individuals whose names are written on pieces of paper could also become vulnerable to threats from vigilante groups. What would stop extrajudicial killers and vigilante groups from breaking the drop boxes and getting the submitted names?” Hontiveros said in a statement.

She threatened to dissolve the Masa Masid program’s P500-million budget as a member of the Senate finance committee

“What we expect from the government is modern, rules-based, and human rights-centric drug law enforcement – not witch-hunting,” Hontiveros added.

Gabriela expressed worry the drop box may only serve to increase the number of victims of Tokhang.

“Dadami ang inosenteng biktima ng pasistang tokhang kung itutuloy ang drop box, bubukas sa abuso at benggatibong pambibintang,” the group tweeted.

CHR Central Visayas chief Leo Villarino raised concerns about the potential ways the drop box can be misused.

“Those who have enemies can use the drop box to antagonize them or tag them as drug personalities in whatever capacity. That’s the difficult thing,” Villarino said.

Former episcopal vicar of the Archdiocese of Cebu Msgr. Esteban Binghay cited the pros and cons of the use of the drop boxes.

“The advantage is those of goodwill can express their opinions. On the other hand, its disadvantage is it can be used for any other purpose,” he said.

“There are always limitations. People can use it for personal reasons,” he added.

Some netizens also took to social media to express their thoughts about the Oplan Tokhang drop boxes.

“The Tokhang drop box reminds me of Effie’s fish bowl for the tributes. Except walang ‘fight to the death’. Death na mismo,” one netizen wrote.

Let’s drop the name of the person behind the idea into the drop box, tweeted another.

Who said this idea is foolproof, a netizen asked.

Anyone can drop his or her enemies’ names into the box, said some netizens.

Here are other reactions:

Sources: ( , , )


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Fake news sites to be aware of this 2018



With the widespread practice of misinformation using made-up stories and maliciously edited photos, Senate hearings have been conducted to determine whether new laws are needed to stop the spread of fake news. But you can contribute to the prevention of misinformation in your own way by not patronizing the content of the fake news sites that are causing confusion and baseless hate in the country.

In 2017, MemeBuster has published two lists containing websites that have posted fake stories.

The following are sites that MemeBuster has encountered while we are pursuing our cause of fighting fake news.

We have categorized the sites into active and inactive ones, seeing as how many fake news sites tend to be unavailable after some time. As of February 15, 2018, these are the active and inactive sources of fake news that we have encountered. We will continue to update this list as we bust more false stories.

Active Sites

1. has been an active source of fake stories that MemeBuster has debunked over and over again. It is also quite known for its ever changing About Us page, which now says that the site started out publishing fake stories for some La Sallian students’ thesis, but that it has stopped in May 2017 to focus on serious topics and general information. But La Salle Dasmarinas disowned the said research. even lied when they said they stopped posting fake news by May 2017. Even as late as December 2017, we still caught them publishing fake stories, among which are about Sanofi Pasteur research and development department revealing that they used embalming chemicals for Dengvaxia, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV hiring Arturo Lascañas and Edgar Matobato as his personal bodyguards, former President Benigno Aquino saying he’s willing to return money he got from the Dengvaxia deal, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promising visa-free entry to Filipino caregivers, and more.

This fake news site was also in our first list of fake news sites that we published in October 2016.

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Duterte raises bounty for killing communists to P25K



President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he is increasing the bounty he is offering for anyone who can kill communist rebels, saying it will be cheaper compared to waging a counterinsurgency campaign. The offer is now up from P20,000 to P25,000.

Duterte made the announcement at the oath-taking of newly-appointed officials in Malacañang. The president also reiterated that his controversial war on drugs will stay despite criticisms over the thousands of deaths and a preliminary examination by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the possibility of committing a crime against humanity.

Reckoning that the campaign against communists would last for at least four years, Duterte has made a counteroffer.

“If you’re a CAFGU (Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit) or anybody here, you kill one NPA (New People’s Army member) and I will pay you P25,000. Kwenta-kwenta ko, mas makamura ako. Bilhin ko na lang itong mga yawa na ito (I calculated and realized it will save money. I might as well buy the devils),” he said.

He also stressed that he has nothing to fear as he has the Philippine Navy, Air Force, Army, and CAFGU.


In a recent speech to more than 200 rebels, Duterte also made a remark that soldiers can shoot female rebels “in their vaginas”. This comment did not sit well with women’s group Gabriela.

The president also reiterated his resolve to face the ICC and be put before a firing squad if he is found guilty of crimes against humanity to emulate Jose Rizal.

“Don’t worry about me, I can face the ICC. If they want to indict me, fine! I would love to experience what Rizal has experienced,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines denounced Duterte’s reward offer to Lumads for every killed communist rebel saying it promotes a culture of violence in the country.

Manila Auxilliary Bishop Broderick Pabllo said that the statements promote a culture that normalizes violence and attacks the sanctity of life. He also urged the president to promote respect of the law instead of making such statements.

Sources: ( )


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How to spot fake news



How many times have you fallen for fake stories or seen friends and colleagues get victimized by misinformation? Two Senate hearings have been dedicated to discussing remedies to fight fake news in the country. But you don’t have to wait for any new laws to be created to contribute to the fight. You can do your part by identifying fake news and making sure that everyone who is willing to listen (or read) will know that a certain story is not factual at all.
Here are some eight pointers on how to distinguish fake news:

Does the headline sound too good to be true? Don’t take everything you read online to be true.

Netizens were duped by this obviously fake story with a headline “NASA hailed Duterte as the best president in the solar system.”

Check the URL. Some sites simply imitate the URLs of established news sources.

Some fake news and satirical sites are good at mimicking the URLs of reputable news sites simply by adding “,” “,” “tv-,” and others. Some also replace the letters in the URLs with numbers to trick people, such as or

Make sure the headline and/or image used matches the content.

Fake story makers take advantage of their readers’ tendencies to read only up to the headline or get their attention using some controversial photo that is actually not relevant to the content. The government-run news agency Philippine News Agency was slammed once for using a Vietnam war photo for a report about the Marawi siege.

Verify information by comparing information from competing sources.

Give yourself some peace of mind by ensuring that you check a story’s claims with different sources.

Check out fact-checking sites like and

Our website was founded amid the rise of memes that were deliberately made to spread disinformation during the 2016 elections,

with one of the more serious falsehoods being the meme that contained an invented quote from Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong endorsing then Philippine presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte. We also busted that story about the documents that spread online accusing former President Benigno Aquino III and other top government officials during his time of depositing gold in Thailand.

Vera Files is known more for fact-checking President Duterte’s claims when he makes speeches, such as his flip-flopping claims on his wealth, and the statements of other government officials.

Track down quotes and sources to see if everything in the story matches.

Many fake news writers have become quite good at masking the lies by mixing it with some facts. For instance, they would take a quote from a certain person and modify it. If you won’t check and triple check it, you’d really think that quote was accurate. A good example of that would be how a fake news site changed up current CBCP President Archbishop Romulo Valles’ statement, attributed it to former CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas, and made it seem as though Villegas was telling the government to leave the NPA alone.

Watch out for “filter bubbles” that show only items based on personalized searches and be more conscious in engaging in diverse content.

Website algorithm may guess what you would like to see based on your search history and online behavior, which may lead to you seeing only information that agree with your beliefs and opinions. To avoid this, you have to ensure that you have access to diverse news from well-established sources.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions.

This is where the need to verify things often start. A world of information is at your fingertip. Just type a few words in the search engine bar, apply the tips mentioned above, and you’ll be on your merry way to discovering whether the story you are reading is true or not.


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