MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) vowed on Sunday, to observe utmost transparency in the use of the P2.86 billion fund that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released for the purchase of firearms and other mission-essential equipment for the police force.
The DBM approved the disbursement in the wake of the corruption scandal involving the use of billions of pesos in pork barrel funds of some lawmakers and amid the spate of bombings in Mindanao.
Senior Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP public information office chief, said the allocation would help the 148,000-strong force improve its capability in decimating threats to the country’s internal security.
“Our morale is higher. We are very happy for the full support of President Aquino,” Sindac told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a mobile phone interview.
“This will improve our effectiveness and efficiency in performing our duties. It will go a long way to improve our service to the Filipino people,” he added.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said P2.5 billion of the allocation would be used by the PNP to buy 13,597 long firearms, 4,997 mobile radios and 1,000 patrol vehicles.
The rest, Abad said, would be utilized to enhance the PNP’s firearms identification system to improve its investigative capabilities in firearms-related cases.
On the other hand, he said P344 million had been allotted for the minor repairs and repainting of 810 of the most dilapidated police stations in the country and for the purchase of ammunition and other supplies for PNP maneuver units.
This early, Sindac assured the public that the PNP would comply with all existing laws and government policies on procurement.
He noted the PNP’s recent experience with the purchase of P1.2-billion worth of Glock 17 Generation 4 9mm pistols for its personnel, which the police claimed to be the “most transparent” procurement process it had conducted in years.
“You saw the procurement of the Glock pistols. That will be the basis… the way it was bid out and procured. That means that the problem (of graft and corruption) is now the thing of the past (in the PNP),” Sindac said.
Interestingly, former PNP director general Nicanor Bartolome Jr. and 15 other senior police officials had been charged for violation of the anti-graft law over the supposed irregularities in the purchase of the Glock pistols.
The case, filed by some of the losing bidders, remains pending in the Office of the Ombudsman.