Senate President Pro -Tempore Ralph Recto said the P900 million proposed 2018 tokhang budget of the Philippine National Police should remain with the agency but “rechanneled for the purchase of needed equipment.”
Recto said that the PNP itself has admitted that it lacks 12,399 patrol cars, 11,346 motorcycles, 50,668 service handguns and 41,136 long firearms, 132 police fast boats, and 902 special purpose vehicles.
“Why not use the funds intended for ‘Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded’ for new cars and guns instead?” Recto said, referring to what the PNP officially bills the 2018 edition of its anti-drug sweep.
“Our police can better serve and protect the people if we’ll be able to pound this double barrel into cars, guns, and boats,” Recto said.
Recto said money earmarked for new equipment in the PNP’s P131.2 billion budget for 2018 “will hardly dent the logistical shortfalls it is facing.”
Next year, it will have a procurement budget only enough for 160 cars, 308 motorcycles, 20 special purpose vehicles, 19 boats, 10,000 sidearms, and 5,000 long firearms,” Recto said.
“Kung i-divert natin ang tokhang budget, madaming gamit na mabibili,” Recto said.
“I’ve been told that for P250,000 you can have a decent, powerful bike. So the P900 million can purchase 3,600 motorcyles, which would mean a minimum two each if distributed equally to all towns,” Recto said.
“The P900 million can also buy at least 1,000 cars. If you buy them, you increase by 25 percent the size of the PNP patrol car fleet. Pag binili mo ito, hindi lang pang-tokhang, kundi pang all-around police service,” Recto said.
Another important gear that should be given to policemen are bulletproof vests which Recto said must be made a standard feature of a police outfit “because these vests save lives.”
“Pwede rin pambili ng radio equipment and improvement of the 911 service,” Recto added.
Improving police emergency hotlines would allow it to comply with the performance guarantee it had spelled out in the national budget that it would respond to distress calls 15 minutes tops, Recto said.
But the advantages of a good 911 hotline will be forfeited if the police will not be able to quickly react to calls for help for lack of manpower and equipment.
“Reaching the police in seconds is one thing. Having the police rush to the scene of the crime in minutes is another. Diyan kailangan ang sasakyan, motorsiklo at radyo,” Recto explained.
In an official report to the Senate, the PNP said that at present it has 4,021 patrol cars, 4,545 motorcycles, 24 special purpose vehicles, 20 boats, 143,742 handguns and 54,184 assault rifles.
“Pero marami sa mga sasakyan sira, o kaya ginagamit na service ng mga opisyal, o walang gasolina or piyesa, kaya ang natitira lang sa kalsada na nagpapatrulya, kaunti lang,” Recto lamented.
Recto said in acquiring this equipment, the PNP should adhere to a “Buy Filipino” policy, saying that local car, boats and firearms manufacturers have the capacity to supply the PNP with world-class products.
The PNP is asking for a 2018 budget of P131.2 billion, P19.6 billion higher than its 2017 budget of P111.6 billion.