P900-M budget for drug war can fund body cams: Gatchalian

MANILA -- Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday said the PHP900-million allocation for the Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded of the Philippine National Police (PNP) can be a possible funding source for the proposed body camera policy in anti-drug operations.

Gatchalian bared his plan as he vowed to push for the inclusion of funding for the implementation of the proposed body camera policy for police anti-drug operatives during Senate deliberations on the 2018 national budget.

The public clamor for greater transparency and accountability in the government's war on drugs can be immediately addressed by getting the body camera program up and running. The quickest way to do this is to appropriate funds for the program in the 2018 national budget, Gatchalian said in a statement.

He said the body camera program deserves to be a budgetary priority as it will provide the Filipino people with immediate protection against police scalawags and their abuses.

The senator said he would request the PNP to provide a detailed report on the number of personnel assigned to drug enforcement units in order to calculate the funding needed.

Citing an assessment report released by the US Department of Homeland Security, Gatchalian said that the standard retail price for police body cameras is between PH 6,000 to PHP57,000 per unit.

The storage costs for maintaining the body camera data on file would be tens of thousands of pesos per unit annually, depending on the required period of archiving.

With these budgetary concerns in mind, Gatchalian proposed the prioritization of the PNP-Drug Enforcement Group (PNP-DEG) and its affiliated local Drug Enforcement Teams (DETs) during the first wave of procurement.

The PNP-DEG and DETs are the primary units designated to conduct anti-illegal drugs operations under PNP's Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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