MANILA, Philippines— President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday said the government will hire non-uniformed personnel to take over the administrative tasks of police officers.
The move will take away paper work from PNP personnel so they can concentrate on fighting crime and maintaining law and order in the streets.
Aquino revealed the plan during the distribution of 22,603 units of Glock 17 Generation 4 pistols at the national headquarters of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame.
He personally handed out semi-automatic pistols to 21 officers at the ceremony, pledging to release nearly 75,000 more to their now-unarmed colleagues.
“Thanks to this positive program, we are close to having a police-to-pistol ratio of one to one,” he said.
With a nine-billion-peso budget, 15,000 “non-uniformed personnel” would be hired to handle the force’s administrative duties, he said.
He commended the PNP personnel for being able to perform their duties despite the lack of guns.
“Isipin n’yo, wala man bitbit na baril o kakulangan man sa armas, nagagawa pa rin ninyong magpakitang gilas. Paano pa kaya kung mayroon nang sapat at modernong kagamitan ang inyong hanay?” the President said in his speech.
(Think of it, despite bearing no firearms you were able to show off. How much more if you are all adequately equipped.)
When he assumed office in 2010, Aquino said almost 50 percent of PNP personnel didn’t have service firearms, forcing some fresh recruits to buy “rights” to the service pistols of officers who are about to retire.
Others had to borrow to buy guns and other equipment out of their own pocket, so that they end up spending the first three years on the job paying these debts back, he said.
With this procurement—the “biggest” gun deal entered into by PNP in recent years—each officers who haven’t been provided with their own service firearms will get one each as soon as all 74,879 total acquired units are delivered and distributed.
“Sa matagal na panahon, para bang sinasabi nating, tungkulin n’yo ang mabilis na pagsugpo sa krimen at banta sa seguridad, pero kapag kapakanan n’yo na ang nakataya, magtiis kayo’t ‘wag nang umasa,” President Aquino said, adding that police officers may have just relied on amulets, or prayers since they were unarmed.
He particularly acknowledged the work of Police Officer 2 Edlyn Arbo and Police Officer 2 Felipe Moncaar who both carried out and accomplished their duties even when they were unarmed.
“Tapang, pananagutan, at kasanayan bilang pulis ang tanging sandata . . . Saludo ang buong bayan sa inyong katapangan at pananagutan; at sa buong hanay ng ating kapulisan na walang pinipiling sitwasyon at pagkakataon upang maglingkod sa kapwa at bansa,” President Aquino said.
Police in the Philippines have long been burdened with a reputation for corruption, abuse and mismanagement even as law-enforcers complain about a lack of equipment and funds to do their job properly.
In one of the worst cases of police bungling, eight Hong Kong tourists were shot dead by a disgruntled Filipino policeman in an error-filled police operation in Manila in 2010. With a report from AFP