TOP Philippine National Police officials have expressed high hopes that the new set of Senate and House of Representative leaders will strongly support President Duterte’s program to modernize the 170,000-strong force and turn 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.
The program supervised by Maj. Gen. Cesar Hawthorne R. Binag of the PNP Directorate for Information Communications and Technology Management is seen to benefit the police force in particular and the public in general.
Last week, PNP chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde led the handover of some P1.871 billion worth of newly-procured police equipment that will boost their ‘move, shoot, communicate and investigate’ capabilities.
He said the new 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 Maj. Gen. 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 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 watercraft for police maritime patrol operations in coastal areas.
The new equipment and dog sniffers were presented by Gen. Albayalde and his men to the media at the NCRPO headquarters in Bicutan, Taguig City. The PNP chief said the equipment underscored the commitment of the PNP to serve the public.
Other senior police officials told the Journal Group that more police aircrafts are to be acquired by the PNP this year to help improve the force’s air capability in countering criminals specifically international drug traffickers taking advantage of the country’s unguarded coastlines and territorial waters and speeding up police search-and-rescue operations.
According to PNP Director for Logistics, Maj. Gen. Edwin C. Roque, two 4-seater single engine Air Bus turbine helicopters worth P225 million each, three units of 6-seater twin-engine rotary blade helicopters at P436 million each and a powerful C-293 transport plane which is a smaller version of the popular C-130 will be already in the PNP air assets by Year 2020.
Roque said that P1.8 billion worth C-293 can carry a platoon of police commandos and one Hummer transport vehicle. two Air Bus helicopters whose acquisition was planned as early as 2018.
At present, the PNP has nine aircrafts composed of eight rotary-wing and one fixed-wing aircrafts. The acquisition of three additional rotary wing helicopters this year will bring to 20 the number of police aircrafts.