CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Hundreds of loiterers were rounded up all over Northern Mindanao since the Philippine National Police (PNP) started its “anti-tambay” operation on instruction of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, the police regional office said.

Supt. Surki Sereñas, PNP-10 spokesperson, said around 300 individuals were apprehended by law enforcers for various offenses, including violation of curfew hours, 140 persons; drinking in prohibited places, 86; altercations and violators of local ordinance, 69.

Despite criticisms from civil society organizations and rights-based groups, Sereñas said they will continue their campaign to rid the streets of idlers and preempt criminal acts.

“We do not see any problem with regard to the implementation of this directive. The purpose is clear, and that is to strengthen police presence in crime-prone areas and places of convergence to prevent street crimes,” he said.

For his part, Chief Supt. Timoteo Pacleb, PNP-10 regional director, said he has reminded police officers must adhere to rules when conducting clearing operations.

“We are constantly reminding our personnel to strictly observe operations protocols, adhere to the rule of the law and respect for human rights,” Pacleb said.

Pacleb also emphasized the continuing internal cleansing program of the PNP to rid its ranks of scalawags and rogue police officers.

“We will never tolerate any erring policeman who will take advantage of the situation. Any report of abuse will be investigated and will be dealt with severely,” he added.

Meanwhile, the police regional chief said there will be no letup in their anti-drug operation following the arrest of several persons and the confiscation of illegal drugs estimated to be worth P24 million in Ozamiz City recently.

Among those arrested were Francisco and Patricia Luansing, relatives of acting Ozamiz mayor Irene Luansing.

It was reported that high-caliber firearms and explosives were recovered from the suspects’ residence during the raid last week.

“In compliance with [Duterte’s] marching order, there will be no letup in our operation against illegal drugs. We will continue until we have cleared the whole region of this drug problem,” Pacleb said.(

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