MANILA, Philippines – The Congress chose to allocate budget for bomb-sniffing dogs instead of body cameras.
This has been the response of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa to criticisms of Senator Ralph Recto.
It can be recalled Recto questioned why the PNP chose to procure first K-9 dogs instead of body cameras that police are supposed to wear during sting operations.
Dela Rosa explained there has been a fund for the procurement of bomb-sniffing dogs under the 2016 to 2017 budget while the purchase of body cameras is under the 2018 budget.
The PNP chief said the issue on the use of body cameras made headlines only following after several police operations led to the deaths of civilians, including teenagers Kian delos Santos and Angelo Carl Arnaiz.
Dela Rosa noted that having bomb-sniffing dogs became their priority due to threats of terrorist groups like the Islamic State (ISIS).
For the PNP Chief, critics are just trying to find a loophole in PNP’s procurement by questioning its purchase of K-9 dogs worth P 545,000 each.
“Can you prevent a bomb or an IED exploding with the body-worn camera? No! But you can prevent that with the bomb-sniffing dogs,” said the PNP chief.
In fact, Dela Rosa said the PNP is still short of 208 bomb-sniffing dogs as it needs a total of 620.
He noted that a K-9 dog has a lifespan of 15 years that’s why the PNP can use them for a long period with the care of its explosive and ordnance division.
Meanwhile, Gen. Dela Rosa revealed that the drug enforcement unit of the PNP will have its body cameras by June of this year.
“We can say that there will be a system where it has a live feed feature in our operation center, while they are there operating. The commander is monitoring them at their station,” said Dela Rosa.
Earlier, the new equipment worth P6.4-billion purchased by the PNP has arrived, Thursday.
These include brand new light transport vehicle, light machine guns, anti-riot shields, helmet, body armors and undershirt vest which will be distributed to various units and police stations across the country.
The Marawi City police station will receive personnel carriers, motorcycles, SOCO vans, light transport vehicles and pick-up 4×4 trucks.
Three helicopters purchased by the PNP will arrive this year while two other will arrive in 2019. – Lea Ylagan | UNTV News & Rescue