Recto urges Duterte administration to buy firearms for 16,140 ‘gunless’ cops

MANILA – Senator Ralph Recto on Wednesday urged the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to include to its maiden national budget proposal the funds for the purchase of firearms for the 16,140 ‘gunless’ policemen.

Recto suggested this proposal after learning from the 2015 Commission on Audit (COA) report that out of 147,041 actual Philippine National Police (PNP) uniformed personnel, only 124,738 have been issued short firearms as of end of last year.

”The official reports point to a manpower and material lack which call for more boots on the ground and more guns for policemen,” Recto said.

According to the PNP audit for 2015, the PNP has not attained a 100 percent issuance of short firearm to PNP uniformed personnel required.

Recto noticed that some 623 officers were using donated handguns while 3,654 officers could not be accounted for or have no record of having been issued service firearms, the audit body said.

COA said the PNP’s failure to achieve a 100 percent “arming rate” for its personnel violates a 1993 National Police Commission order mandating a one-gun-one-police ratio.

Recto said the PNP’s gun shortage would have been eased if it did not divert in 2012 a Php336 million budget for gun procurement.

According to the same COA report, the amount was instead used to buy 20 patrol jeeps, one “Crime Data Processing System” and an “Automated Fingerprint Identification System” costing Php270 million.

The original procurement plan was to acquire 12,268 units of caliber 9-millimeter pistols costing Php296 million, the COA said.

Recto said government should resume its gun acquisition plan because “the situation in which gunless policemen account for 11 percent of the force should not be allowed to continue.”

The senator also called for inclusion in the reported Php 3.3 trillion 2017 national budget funds for the “recruitment, salary and equipment” of 23,820 vacant positions in the PNP manpower table.

The PNP, he explained, has 174,410 “authorized uniformed personnel positions” of which only 150,590 are filled, according to an official Department of Budget and Management (DBM) document.

Just filling these posts, Recto said, will give the nation’s 1,489 towns an additional 12 policemen each, “and 41 more policemen for each of the 145 cities.”

Based on the Commission on Population estimate that the country’s population will reach 104 million this year, “then we have a 1 cop per 690 persons ratio,” Recto said.

In 2015, there were 352 robberies and thefts, 28 rape cases, and 34 killings daily, he said.

In addition, 12,900 vehicles were stolen last year,” Recto said, citing a PNP report.

The PNP also reported 9,643 murder cases and 2,835 homicide incidents in 2015. Jelly F. Musico/ PNA/