MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto questioned the move of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in prioritizing more than half-a-million-peso bomb-sniffing dogs instead of buying body cameras which will be used in the government’s drug war.
Recto said that the PNP has excluded in their request the procurement of body cameras despite the public’s demand for transparency in the anti-drug operations.
The senator added that the police bought 48 bomb-sniffing dogs worth P511, 672 instead of the said cameras.
“While there was already a public clamor for policemen to wear bodycams during antidrug sweeps, the PNP omitted bodycams in their request, choosing instead 48 bomb-sniffing dogs with a price tag of P511,672 each,” Recto said.
Meanwhile, Outgoing PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said during the relaunch of “Oplan Tokhang” on Monday that he can’t promise a hundred percent of “bloodless” crackdown against illegal drugs.
He also expressed readiness in vacating his post if there would be a leader who assures that no drug suspect will die in the government’s anti-drug campaign.
“We can’t control it that’s why there is a drug problem and we are trying to address this problem. On the way of addressing this problem, we also have to protect ourselves, preserve our own life and life of the stranger that’s why I cannot give you 100 percent or foolproof anti-drug campaign or bloodless campaign,” Dela Rosa said in mix Filipino and English.
Recto then called on the PNP to fast-track its procurement of P334-million worth of body cameras to be worn by policemen as the budget was already approved by Congress to be included in the 2018 national budget.
“Camp Crame should expedite their procurement and check other items in the PNP equipment shopping list, which this year’s General Appropriations Act has already funded,” he said.
The senator also said that P1.9 billion of the P5.6 billion included in the 2017 national budget for police modernization was released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) last August.
He added that it seemed the PNP missed out the procurement of the body cams.
“Hopefully, bodycams were included in subsequent releases, if there were. By September, may balanse pa na P3.7 billion doon sa P5.6 B na pondo for police modernization,” Recto said.
“If they were not able to buy bodycams for the rest of 2017, they should prioritize the P334 million for cameras already included in the 2018 budget. They should prove that they act fast in the purchase of their equipment,” he added.