‘Bato’ vows to further help PNP modernization bid

FORMER Philippine National Police chief and now Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa has spoken: he will be the no. 1 advocate of the big need to modernize the 190,000-strong police force during the remaining three years of the Duterte administration.

“Being the former Chief, PNP, ang buong puso ko ay nasa Pambansang Pulisya lalo na sa capability upgrade nito. Kaya sigurado na magiging priority ko sa Senado ang mas malaking programa para maging mas professional pa ang PNP kasabay ng pagtutok sa ating internal cleansing program,” the member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 told the Journal Group.

The Journal Group earlier reported that top PNP officials headed by Director General Oscar D. Albayalde have expressed high hopes that the new set of Senate and House of Representatives’ leaders will strongly support President Duterte’s program to modernize the police force and transform it into one of Asia’s best, starting with its Smart Policing program.

President Duterte earlier approved the PNP’s P33-billion SMART Policing Program which is an acronym for Secured, Mobile, Artificial Intelligence-Drive, Real Time, Technology in the organization.

Gen. Albayalde said the PNP is on its verge of having its own aircraft as well as high-end logistical and communications equipment to boost its capabilities in securing future elections and at the same time fighting crime and terror and immediately responding to any calls for emergency assistance particularly during disaster rescue and relief operations.

He particularly batted for an aircraft that could rapidly deploy troops from the elite PNP Special Action Force anywhere in the country.

The PNP Smart Policing program being supervised by Major General Cesar Hawthorne R. Binag Jr. of the PNP Directorate for Information Communications and Technology Management is seen as a project that will highly benefit the police force in particular and the public in general.

Last month saw Gen. Albayalde leading the handover of some P1.871 billion worth of newly-procured police equipment that will further boost their ‘move, shoot, communicate and investigate’ capabilities.

He said the newly-procured mission-essential equipment are needed to enhance the firepower, mobility, communication and investigative capabilities of PNP operating units including the National Capital Region Police Office headed by Major General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar.

“These are just some of the fruits of the PNP Capability Enhancement Program over a span of four years from 2014 thru 2018,” he said in explaining their program which aims to provide for and enhance the basic operational requirements of every PNP unit especially the Municipal and City Police Stations, Regional Public Safety Battalions, Provincial Public Safety Companies and National Support Units.

Included in the  23,800 units of brand-new equipment are two units of Single Engine Helicopter (Airbus H125); 107 units of Toyota Hi-Lux 4x2 single-cab patrol jeeps; 349 units of Honda XRM 125cc motorcycles; 5,000 units of Striker Fired 9mm Pistol (Canik TP9SF Elite-S); 4,000 units of Striker Fired 9mm Pistol (Taurus TS9); 42 units of 7.62mm MG3 Light Machine Gun from the Pakistan Ordnance Factory; 3,045 units Waistcoat Vest Level 3A with Upgrade Plate Level IV;  11,084 Enhanced Combat Helmets;  124 units Tactical Radio (VHF Low band); and  48 Explosive Detection Dogs (EDDs).

The multi-role single engine helicopter will be assigned to the PNP Special Action Force primarily to support internal security, law enforcement and public safety operations of PNP units in Mindanao and Visayas.

The combat helmets, tactical radios, body armor, sidearms, motorcycles and patrol vehicles will fill-up existing shortages of these equipment among the line units, Gen. Albayalde said.

He added that the light machineguns will be issued to the Maritime Group to arm its newly-acquired fleet of high-speed tactical watercraft for police maritime patrol operations in coastal areas.