‘Bato’ says anti-drug agents should get first crack at body cam distribution
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Monday said anti-drug operatives should be prioritized in the distribution of body cameras.
At the hearing on bills mandating and institutionalizing the use of body cameras by law enforcement agents, Dela Rosa, himself a former policeman, underscored several advantages of using such technology.
“Research found several advantages of the use of body cameras such as increase in the safety of both the public and improvement in police accountability and protection of officers from false accusations of misconduct and is similarly a good tool for teaching officers how to perform during difficult encounter with the public,” he said in his opening statement.
He said the issue of requiring law enforcement officers to wear body cameras during operations became “a global issue for the past few years, particularly in light of problems in the United States that apparently point to the police using excessive and unnecessary force in dealing with the public.”
Dela Rosa noted that during his time as chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), he had initiated the procurement of body-worn cameras for the PNP.
He said P334 million was allotted for the procurement of 12,476 body cameras, 175 body camera live streaming systems, 1,941 computer sets and 2,103 docking stations.
Police Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa, PNP officer in charge, told Dela Rosa that the procurement of the body cameras has been completed last December 4.
Dela Rosa then pointed out that not all police officers will be issued their own body worn camera.
“We have to admit na hindi naman lahat ma-issuehan dahil 125,000 strong ang PNP ngayon ‘di ba? So sana, dahan-dahan hanggang sa magkakaroon tayo lahat,” he said.
(We have to admit that we cannot issue body cameras to every police officer because the PNP is currently 125,000 strong, right? So, hopefully, slowly and then all of the police officers are given body cameras).
“Pero priority muna ang issuehan siguro nito yung mga anti-drug operatives dahil doon ang PNP tinitira na…mawala ng tiwala yung tao kapag may namatay tapos hindi na ma-justify ng pulis kung paano namatay yun so dun tayo tinitira. So dapat dun priority, yung anti-drug operatives,” he added.
(But our priority should be the anti-drug operatives because that’s where the PNP is criticized, the trust of the people fades when someone dies and the polcie cannot justify the death. So that’s where our priority should be, the anti-drug operatives).
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