The anti-illegal drugs operatives of the Philippine National Police (PNP) will wear body cameras by middle of the year when the acquisition of the devices is complete.
An allocation of P334-million for the purchase of body-worn cameras for local drug enforcement units by June has been ordered by PNP Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa. He tasked Director Jose Victor Ramos, the PNP directorate for logistics, to fast track the purchase of body cameras for anti-narcotics operatives and ensure transparency in their operations.
The body-worn cameras would be ideally connected to a system where there would be a live feed in the drug enforcement units’ respective operations centers so their commanders would be able to monitor their movements.
“We are really fast tracking the process. We are not dilly-dallying because the longer we do not have those (body-worn cameras), the more uneasy our critics. We want to let the critics feel they are being considered for everyone’s good,” the PNP chief said.
The procurement of body cameras was not prioritized in the 2017 annual procurement plan in favor of the equipment needed for anti-crime and counter terrorism as clarified by dela Rosa.
The procurement last year of 48 K9 units, composed of Belgian Malinois and Labrador breeds that are currently undergoing training at the PNP kennel in Alfonso, Cavite, was prompted by “the need for enhanced target-hardening efforts amid threats posed by foreign-inspired local terrorist movements,” as explained by the PNP chief. Each K9 unit costs P545,000, including the training of both the dog and its handler and maintenance.
“Maybe to critics, body-worn cameras are priority. They are really looking for holes in our operations. Our priority was dogs because of the threat of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), terrorism, many lives will be lost. Our airports will be in danger if our Avsegroup (Aviation Security Group) does not have bomb-sniffing dogs,” he remarked in mixed Filipino and English.