Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa received the Medal of Honor from the Indonesian National Police (INP) on Wednesday.
The Bintang Bhayangkara Utama, INP’s highest award, was awarded to Dela Rosa during a grand conferment ceremony at the Indonesian Police Academy headquarters in Jakarta.
“To the very famous and popular General Bato: thank you for your rockstar-like inspiration to the Indonesian national police and the Indonesian people on how to fight the war on drugs. This is the first time that the Indonesian government granted the highest award the state can give, the Medal of Honor, the Bintang bahayang Kara utama (the ultimate protector of the state and the people), to a non-Indonesian official,” Indonesian Police General Tito Karnavian said.
Expressing his gratitude to Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Karnavian, Dela Rosa said, “Thank you for this award and this will inspire me more to exert more effort in our drug war.”
According to the PNP chief, Karnavian would like to thank him for his “rockstar-like inspiration” to the Indonesian Police and Indonesian people on “how to fight the war on drugs.”
“This is doubly significant for me because this is being given out to me or conferred to me during Valentine’s Day, so sa inyong lahat diyan sa Pilipinas (to all of you in the Philippines), happy Valentine’s sa inyong lahat (to all),” Dela Rosa added.
The award came two weeks after the PNP returned to the drug operation scenes on January 29 with their new guidelines requiring human rights advocates to join the operations.
Written in its guidelines, “The Tokhang team shall be joined by at least one representative from any concerned ADAC (anti-drug abuse council), at least one representative from PNP HRAO (Human Rights Affairs Office) or any Human Rights Advocate.”
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Officer-in-Charge (OIC) and National Police Commission (Napolcom) Chairman Eduardo Año said that they “will keep a close eye” on PNP’s implementation and operation of the new Oplan Tokhang to ensure that allegations of human rights violations against the police involved in the administration’s war on drugs will be “a thing of the past.”
Malacañang, for its part, expressed hope for a “less controversial” Oplan Tokhang as the PNP resumed to Oplan Tokhang.
“We are certainly hoping it will be less controversial because controversy will only blur the real intentions behind Tokhang which is really the fight against dangerous drugs,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque stressed in a news conference on January 29.
“The PNP has said they want the ‘Tokhang’ operations to be less blood. We are hoping it will be and we welcome the statement of the PNP as reaffirming their commitment to the new rule of law,” he added.