Legarda questions PNP for unspent P100-M budget for command center
Sen. Loren Legarda questioned the Philippine National Police (PNP) for asking additional P14-billion funding for its new command center while it still had millions of funds remaining to be spent this year for the same purpose.
During Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate subcommittee on finance for the budgets of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and PNP, Legarda said the police force still had P100 million allocated in 2016 for the building of the PNP’s state-of-the-art command center that remained unspent.
“Humihingi kayo ng P14 billion, ang P100 million hindi niyo magastos, bakit kayo bibigyan ng karagdagan? At ang bagal-bagal,” Legarda said.
(You are asking for P14 billion, but you cannot spend the P100 million, why are you asking for more funds? And it’s too slow.)
The P100-million fund, tagged in the General Appropriations Act as capital outlay, was supposedly for the infrastructure that would house the PNP command center. On the other hand, the P14 billion, tagged as maintenance and other operating expenses, was supposedly for the police’s new equipment.
“Two years ago pa naisip ko yang magkaroon kayo ng command center because I want a well-equipped police force to protect us. And then you come to me and say you have not spent it, you have three months to go?” Legarda said.
Deputy Director General Archie Francisco Gamboa, chief of the Directorial Staff of the PNP, promised Legarda that the PNP would obligate the remaining funds by November as the absorptive capacity of the police had greatly improved.
“The PNP is now working on the balances of the P2 billion and all the unprogrammed appropriations given in the amount of the P1.1 billion,” Gamboa said.
Legarda asked the PNP to at least obligate the P100-million fund in the next three months and construct the center next year.
The senator hoped the equipment to be purchased would be used to improve the police’s ability to enforce the law.
“Sana lahat ng mga madidilim na lugar sa Metro Manila lagyan (ng) CCTV at nakikita niyo lahat ng krimen do’n, o lahat ng mga pulis lalagyan niyo ng (body) camera para pag may mga raid ‘wag silang papatay kung hindi self-defense,” Legarda said.
(I hope the dark corners of Metro Manila be installed with CCTV so you can see the crimes happening there, or put body cameras on policemen so they would not kill during raids unless it’s self-defense.) /jpv
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