MANILA, Philippines – The P135.4 billion 2014 budget for the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) was approved Monday by the Senate committee on finance after several questions on police operations particularly on visibility and the 117 hotline.
The DILG has several agencies under it such as the Philippine National Police (PNP) which will have P71.9 billion and the Bureau of Fire Protection which will have P8.725 billion.
Other agencies include Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, P6.27 billion; Local Government Academy, P149.8 million; National Police Commission, P1.422 billion; and the Philippine Public Safety College, P1.5 billion.
Senate president Franklin Drilon asked about the lack of manpower of the Philippine National Police (PNP) despite the annual allocation of funds for recruitment.
“On a yearly basis, we allocate substantial amounts for the hiring of new uniformed personnel in the PNP because we are conscious of the need to augment our police force, but apparently, the response of the field is not that adequate,” Drilon said.
“We provide the funds, but you don’t hire,” he said.
Director General Alan Purisima, PNP Chief, said that 195,000 police were needed to meet the 1:500 police-to-population ratio. However, there are currently 145,501 policemen in active duty, 49,499 less than the ideal police force resulting in a 1:1,000 ratio for Metro Manila.
“Police visibility is critical to reducing crime volume especially in critical and risky areas. But the current personnel buildup of the PNP is quite far from ideal and sufficient in order for the PNP to effectively fight criminality and maintain peace and order throughout the country,” Drilon said.
Senator Grace Poe asked for a review of the Patrol 117 emergency hotline to improve the emergency response services of the authorities.
DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas II cited that 95 percent of the calls received by the 117 hotline were merely for directory assistance and pranks.
“There is an ongoing process of review spearheaded by the National Police Commission to reconfigure Patrol 117 so that it will become effective… While the government has 117, Davao has 911 and every locality has their own emergency numbers. We really want to fix this,” Roxas said during the hearing.
Senator Nancy Binay questioned during the hearing the expenses incurred by the government providing security to high-profile detainees such as former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the Veterans Memorial Medical Center and Janet Lim-Napoles in Fort Sto Domingo in Sta Rosa, Laguna.