PNP seeks add’l budget for 2019 polls security preps

MANILA The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday said it requested for additional budget to augment its security preparations for the 2019 mid-term elections.

PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde said since the country holds general elections every three years, the PNP has considerably perfected the art of performing election duty as a deputized agency of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

He said the added responsibility entails corresponding upgrade of resources to cope with the additional functions.

This is partly the reason why we have requested a hike in the proposed PNP budget for 2019 which is 30 percent more than last year's appropriation, largely due to the increased salary and allowances of personnel which comprise 89 percent of our annual budget, with only 8 percent allotted for Maintenance Operating and Other Expenses (MOOE); and only 3 percent for Capital Outlay or acquisition of new facilities and equipment, Albayalde told reporters in press briefing on Monday.

He said the current equipment inventory represents only 46 percent of the total PNP requirements or 51 percent fill-up in requirement for land vehicles, 19 percent fill-up in required aircraft, 31 percent fill-up in required watercraft, 93 percent fill-up in required handguns, 62 percent fill-up of required long firearms, 15 percent of crew-served weapons, 27 percent of communication requirement, 15 percent of anti-terrorism equipment, 61 percent of CDM equipment, and 22 percent of investigative equipment.

He said the supplemental President's Contingency Fund allows the PNP to procure basic requirements and program expenditures that cannot be supported by Capital Outlay and MOOE from regular appropriations.

As of April this year, we have already utilized PHP2.25-billion from the President's Contingency Fund for 7,700 basic assault rifles, 16,500 pistols, 205 light machineguns, 18 units of forensic microscope, and 12,622 units of anti-terrorism equipment; as well as for the annual MOOE of the newly acquired PNP helicopter, Albayalde said.

It should be worthy to note that with all these regular and supplemental appropriations, the PNP has posted a high 98-percent absorptive capacity or utilization efficiency of appropriated funds. With the able stewardship of the PNP Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), we were able to save enough money to buy an additional 107 units of patrol vehicles for our field units nationwide, he added.

He said this is an excellent manifestation of efficiency in managing government resources in line with the good governance and anti-corruption programs of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

We are committed to this kind of efficiency for the best interest not only of the PNP but most importantly of all the Filipino taxpayers, he added.

Despite the lack of funds, Albayalde said, they are making the most of what they have in terms of implementation of election security measures.

Since August this year, he said the PNP as neutralized 82 gun-for-hire syndicate members and confiscated of 35 firearms of assorted caliber.

He said focused intelligence operations are now being directed against more or less 77 active PAGS with 2,071 members believed armed with an estimated 1,582 firearms. A large majority of these active PAGs operate in the Autonomous Region in Muslim MIndanao.

We are also monitoring the activities of 217 other groups that have the potential of being utilized as PAGs by some politicians, he added.

He said that aggressive police operations will continue without let-up against loose firearms and gun-for hire groups, some of which are known to double as PAGs during election season.

We have gained significant headway in the investigation of 18 separate incidents of politically-motivated attacks on incumbent elective officials with arrests made against suspects in 11 incidents and criminal charges filed against suspects in two other cases, he said.

Aside from directly neutralizing these PAGs, Albayalde said the PNP has initiated proactive moves to paralyze these groups, including criminal support systems that sustain its operations.

The PNP has earlier implemented a reorganization and reassignment of personnel, particularly those related to candidates who are vying for national and local elective posts.

To ensure ideal conditions for fair and honest elections, the PNP assures judicious and impartial application of rules in the implementation of election laws, on the detail of security personnel to candidates, enforcement of the election gun-ban, and equal campaign opportunities, Albayalde said.

In addition to its current functions, Albayalde directed all Directors for Integrated Police Operations (DIPO) to monitor and take appropriate action on all election-related incidents under their respective areas of responsibility and facilitate better coordination of police operations across regional jurisdictions. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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