PNP procuring more bullet-proof vest, body armours to protect men

THE Philippine National Police headed by Director General Oscar D. Albayalde is procuring more world-class body armours and combat helmets needed not only to protect police officers and men tasked to go after criminal and terror rings in the country but also those who are manning checkpoints to arrest the presence of deadly loose weapons and explosives in the highways and streets, the Journal Group learned yesterday.

“We’re further improving our move, shoot, communicate and investigate capabilities, most importantly our critical needs,” PNP Director for Logistics, Major General Edwin C. Roque told the Journal Group in an interview.

A lawyer-classmate from Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 of Gen. Albayalde, Roque said they are set to acquire more Enhanced Level III Combat Helmets, Level III Tactical Vests with Level IV Two Upgraded Plates, Waistcoat Vests and Level III-A Undershirt Vests this year.

Bullet-proof vests, he explained are particularly needed by policemen manning checkpoints in the country since these officers are regularly exposed to the threat posed by heavily-armed lawless elements.

“We should understand that each time our policemen flag down occupants of a car or an SUV for a routine check, they don’t know if the persons they are about to check are armed or not. In case the persons are armed with automatic rifles or pistols and start panic firing, only their body armours will help protect them from bullets in case they are not immediately able to run to their mobile cars to seek cover,” said Roque.

There were instances in the past wherein policemen who accosted car-riding persons were met with automatic gunfire and were killed or maimed in the process.

At present, the PNP’s percentage fill-up of Level III Enhanced Combat Helmets is 70 percent. When it comes to Level III-A Tactical Vests with Two Upgraded Level IV Plates, the percentage fill-up is 70 percent. On the other hand, the percentage fill-up for Waistcoat Vests is 85 percent while the percentage fill-up for Level III-A Undershirt Vests is only 12 percent.

As of last March 25, the equipment percentage fill-up for Anti-Riot Helmets is already 99 percent while the percentage fill-up for Body Protectors is 72 percent.

The official assured that these equipment have passed strict quality tests. “These vests and helmets passed world-class tests and we saw to it that there are no bullet penetrations, no perforations during actual testing. That’s part of our requirement to all our suppliers,” he said.

Roque said they are very thankful that President Duterte is ‘very very supportive of the PNP’ and is seeing to it that they would be fully-equipped as they battle drugs, criminality and corruption.

He said that they will pursue their modernization plan during the new Congress. “We’ll be prioritizing the acquisition of necessary and basic equipment and infrastructures,” the official said.

Officials have maintained that a graft-free PNP bidding process over the past two years of the Duterte administration has not only ensured that quality ‘move, shoot, communicate and investigate’ tools and other equipment would be procured by the force but at the same time enable it to save millions that can be used to buy what officers in round-the-clock patrol really need.

The corruption-free bidding process has also enabled the PNP to save enough money this year which was used to procure 107 brand-new patrol vehicles, Gen. Albayalde said.

As PNP chief, Gen. Albayalde is the head of the PNP procurement program and is in the forefront of a campaign to ensure that there would be no more anomalous purchases in the organization which, during the past several administrations has been rocked by graft-tainted biddings.

“This is an excellent manifestation of efficiency in managing government resources in line with the good governance and anti-corruption programs of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. We are committed to this kind of efficiency for the best interest not only of the PNP but most importantly of all the Filipino taxpayers,” the PNP chief explained.

The PNP-BAC is chaired by PNP Deputy Chief for Operations, Lieutenant General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa. The BAC is responsible for seeing to it that all PNP procurement process are in accordance with government rules and regulations before a final contract is signed by the PNP chief which is the head of the procuring entity.