Bato: PNP lacks Colombia’s air assets in war on drugs
Colombia is using 60 Black Hawk helicopters and over a hundred aircraft to fight illegal drugs while the Philippine National Police (PNP) has zero air assets, PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa told a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
“I just came from Colombia at yung kanilang dedicated air assets sa war on drugs lang nila, your honor, meron silang 60 na Black Hawk helicopters at saka more than 100 fixed-wing aircrafts (and their dedicated air assets in war on drugs, your honor, include 60 Black Hawk helicopters and and over a hundred fixed-wing aircraft),” Dela Rosa said during the hearing of the Senate committee on finance on the proposed 2017 budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and its attached agencies.
“Yung mga police nila kahit mga PO1 (Police Officer 1), parang ginagawa nilang taxi yung eroplano at helicopter kaya kahit saan sila pumupunta, hindi sila sumasakay ng mga land vehicle kung hindi eroplano palagi doon sa kanilang war on drugs (Even their PO1s use the aircraft and helicopter whenever they go, they don’t ride on land vehicles in their war on drugs),” he said.
“So comparing to our police force, medyo maliit ang kanilang police force compared sa atin but zero tayo sa (their police force is smaller compared to ours but we have zero) air assets at the moment,” said Dela Rosa, who just attended a conference on counterterrorism and anti-illegal drugs in Bogota, Colombia.
READ: Bato in awe of Colombia
It was Police Chief Superintendent Archie Francisco Gamboa, acting director of the PNP’s Directorate for Comptrollership, who told the committee that at present, the police have no air asset.
“Do you have an aircraft? What is your aircraft? Does it fly?” Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the finance committee, asked during the hearing.
“We don’t have any,’ said Gamboa.
“I don’t understand. You ask for maintenance of an aircraft but you said you don’t have?” Legarda asked again.
“No, I mean to say we don’t have an aircraft that is airworthy,” the police officer said as he enumerated the aircraft that the police have, such as Cessna and islanders.
“So put it in a museum, really because why do we risk the lives of our men and women if they are not airworthy? If they are not airworthy, don’t let it fly and don’t ask for maintenance and put it in a museum,” Legarda said.
Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito said it was “unimaginable” that the PNP does not have a single air asset.
“As of the moment, do you confirm you don’t have any air asset flying at the moment?” Ejercito also asked, to which Gamboa answered “yes.”
Gamboa later explained that there were aircraft that were purchased in 2009 but the PNP was not allowed by the Office of the Ombudsman to use it because it was subject of a pending case. RAM/rga
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