Senators vow to help PNP boost counterterrorism capabilities
Five senators on Tuesday vowed to help the Philippine National Police (PNP) boost its capabilities in fighting terrorism.
The issue was discussed at the office of Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III during a two-hour meeting attended by PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, acting Interior Secretary Catalino Cuy, and four other senators.
Aside from Pimentel, the senators present in the meeting were Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, and Sherwin Gatchalian.
Asked what the agenda of the meeting was, Dela Rosa said they talked about how the Senate could help the PNP improve its anti-terrorism capabilities.
He said the lawmakers were concerned by the PNP’s lack of capability in fighting terrorism compared to police forces in other Southeast Asian countries.
“Kasi sa buong mundo, ang OPR (Office of Primary Responsibility) talaga ng terrorism is yung police,” Dela Rosa said in an ambush interview. “So nagtatanong sila ngayon, kasi kapag may bilateral meeting with Malaysia and Indonesia ang Philippines para i-address yung problem sa terrorism, ang counterpart parati sa kabila ’yung Malaysian police at Indonesia national police.”
He lamented that the PNP had barely contributed to the anti-terrorism efforts of the government, stressing it was short of assets and equipment to fight terrorism.
“Nakakahiya na minimal ‘yung ma-contribute namin towards that effort kasi sila (Indonesian and Malaysian police),” he said. “Kaya nilang magpadala ng mga helicopter, ng mga malalaking barko to patrol the high seas. Kami naman sa PNP, very limited ’yung aming mga floating at air assets. Actually, sa ngayon wala tayo.”
But Dela Rosa said the senators promised to help them in terms of laws, legislation, and budget to upgrade the PNP’s equipage and its communication and investigation capabilities. /atm
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