STATE-OF-THE-ART drones which proved their usefulness when security forces battled Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists who laid siege to Marawi City in May last year will now be a norm in police operations where they will serve as the police’s “eye-in-the-sky.”
Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde said that they will soon provide different police regional units, specifically their mobile groups, with 700 drones worth P56 million to bolster their effectiveness.
The PNP chief said they will be asking all 17 Police Regional Office directors and chiefs of different PNP national operational support units to see to it that there will be an officer responsible for the use and maintenance of the drones which cost P80,000 each.
Policemen who would be assigned to handle these drones will have to undergo specialized training since a simple error may prove too costly and the drones would either be lost or totally damaged.
Drones have proven to be very effective in monitoring any activities in a given area including the presence of armed persons, whether they are members of the New People’s Army or Southern-based terrorists.
Gen. Albayalde said that in particular, he wants drones to be fielded in areas where there are large NPA sightings especially during actual clashes between the guerrillas and security troops.
The idea, he explained, is for drones to be fielded t the scene of the fighting in order to check the real ground situation.
Apparently, this was not the case in Maria Aurora, Aurora province where suspected NPA rebels shot dead one policeman and wounded another on Tuesday while they were responding to a reported arson incident.
The PNP chief said that he was told by Police Regional Office 3 director, Chief Superintendent Amador V. Corpus that he has already advised his men to first deploy a drone and check the area before responding to any incident. Without any “eye in the sky,” the cops were ambushed.
Gen. Albayalde said it appears that the policemen might have been overconfident in immediately rushing to the site knowing that Army soldiers were already in the area engaging the rebels in a firefight.
Corpus has led the Central Luzon police force in condemning the NPA attack.
“Our men from the Maria Aurora Municipal Police Station and the 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company were responding to a reported arson incident in Sitio Dimani, Barangay Villa when they were ambushed by an undetermined number of NPA guerrillas who were in a vantage position,” said Corpus.
“It is sad to note that one of our men was killed in action and another one was wounded. Our hearts are broken from the loss of Police Officer 2 Martial Ruidera who is not only a dedicated police officer but also a great person and a father,” he said.
Wounded in the ambush was Senior Police Officer 2 Angelo Gawat, the chief investigator of the Maria Aurora police station.
Corpus assured the family of PO2 Ruidera of all financial support and benefits due him. The fallen cop will also be given a hero’s burial.
He also said that they will shoulder all the medical needs of SPO2 Gawat.
‘’We condemn in the strongest manner the NPA’s continued act of terrorism on our personnel who were merely responding to the call of duty,” he said.
Corpus also called on the public to join them in denouncing these acts of violence by the communist movement and to continue supporting the police and the military in accounting for armed rebels by providing them information on their presence.
He said that information may be given to the nearest police station or thru the PRO3 hotline 09998838327/09176235700.