‘Aging’ surveillance cars vs druggies’ Land Cruisers: PDEA pleads for more budget
MANILA, Philippines — How on earth will a 17-year-old vehicle used by the government’s anti-drug operatives cope with a Land Cruiser carrying drug suspects?
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director-General Wilkins Villanueva raised the issue of the agency’s “aging” surveillance equipment when he presented his P3.07B budget proposal for next year on Wednesday before the Senate finance committee.
“Aging na talaga yung mga sasakyan namin, Mr. Chair. Imagine meron pa kaming Revo, hanggang ngayon pinapagana pa rin namin, inisyu yan mr chair noong 2004,” Villanueva said.
(Our vehicles are already aging, Mr. Chair. Imagine, we are still using a Revo that was issued in 2004.)
“Hindi ka maniwala, Mr. Chair, mayron pa kaming Adventure na in-issue pa nung NDEP (National Drug Education Program), pinapagana pa namin Mr. Chair. Meron pa kaming L300 na gumagana pa rin. Ganun kami mag-maintain ng sasakyan. Pero talagang hindi na kami makahabol, e yung mga hinahabol namin Mr. Chair, mga Land cruiser e.”
(You won’t believe it, Mr. Chair, we still have an Adventure that was issued during the NDEP years. We also have an L300 that’s still working. That’s how we maintain our vehicles. We can’t keep up with the people we chase because they drive Land Cruisers.)
“So we really wish na mabigyan kami ng capability para makahabol naman, Mr. Chair, as part of the operational capability. At Kung magkaubusan talaga ng pera, ang hihingin ko lang dito, Mr. Chair, e firearms and mobility. Sasakyan at firearms,” he stressed.
(So we really hope we’ll be able to catch up, Mr. Chair, as part of the operational capability. But if there’s no fund, I’ll request firearms and mobility.)
Ahead of this, Villanueva requested an additional P45 million to build PDEA’s own office in Region 10, as it is currently renting an office in Cagayan de Oro.
Villanueva also requested an additional P221 million budget to transfer the PDEA Academy from Cavite to Tanay, Rizal.
From this year’s P186.4 million, the PDEA chief lamented that the agency’s proposed capital outlay was down to only P31 million in 2022.
Senator Ronaldo “Bato” dela Rosa, who was presiding over the hearing, pledged to support PDEA’s proposals, noting that the fight against illegal drugs must get the government’s support since this is President Duterte’s “flagship project.”
“E ngayon anong klaseng support itong nilagay nila? Zero kayo sa capital outlay, paano kayo makabili ng kahit isang sasakyan man lang nito na panghabol sa mga drug courier dyan, pang surveillance. Kailangan natin ng suporta nito” he said.
(What kind of support have they provided for it? How can you acquire at least one vehicle to hound the drug courier there for surveillance with the limited capital outlay? Support is definitely needed.)
And to the PDEA chief, Dela Rosa said: “You did not talk about your problem. Dapat, the government will take care of your problem because you’re taking care of your own operational requirements, your own operational problem sa baba.”
(…the government should come to your aid because you handle your own operational requirements, your own operational problem.)
“Nagpapakamatay kayo dyan sa inyong kampanya laban sa droga tapos hindi man lang kayo suportahan,” the senator went on.
(You risk your life to fight drugs but don’t receive any support.)
Villanueva earlier told the panel that PDEA spent P335 million in anti-drug operations as of September this year, but it resulted in the apprehension of P10 billion worth of illegal drugs.
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