MANILA - President Benigno Aquino III assured that his administration will continue to seek funding for the modernization of the Philippine National Police (PNP) despite the Supreme Court's ruling declaring the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional.
"Huwag kayong mag-alala na 'di matutupad ang ating plano para sa 'shoot, scoot, and communicate' dahil sa naging desisyon sa DAP. Patuloy tayong gumagawa ng hakbang para masigurong tuloy-tuloy ang inyong modernisasyon," said Aquino in his speech before a crowd of police officials, former chiefs of the Philippine National Police, businessmen and invited guests gathered inside the Multi-Purpose Hall of Camp Crame in Quezon City, where the 113th Police Service Anniversary was held Friday.
The President said the public has high expectations that police would respond immediately and be ready to lay down their lives to preserve peace and order and protect the rights of the people.
He said it seems there has been a failure to recognize the need to provide police with the tools to do their job.
He said this would mean leaving everything to luck, or as Filipinos say it, "Bahala na si Batman" (Batman will take care of it).
The President recalled in his speech the time when the country's police force had insufficient number of firearms.
"Kailangan pang bilhin ng mga bagong pulis ang rights ng baril sa mga magreretiro. Sa kagustuhan mong magserbisyo, nagkautang ka na para makapasok sa serbisyo, nakakaltasan ka pa sa suweldo mo pagdating na ikaw ay nakapasok na sa trabaho. Kabado ka pa dahil kapag nagkaengkuwentro, hindi naman puwedeng daanin mo na lang sa pleasing personality ang masasamang elemento," he said.
The President said the present PNP has a 1:1 police-to-pistol ratio. He said his administration is putting a premium on the importance of science in crime fighting with focus on upgrading science and forensic gathering capability.
He enumerated the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS) for the management of information of all firearms in the country and the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) used for identifying and cross-matching fingerprint specimens obtained in crime scene investigations.
"Naghahanda na rin tayong mag-hire ng paunang 7,439 mula sa target na 30,000 non-uniformed personnel para sa gawaing administratibo," he said.
The President believes that with this program, the policemen will be able to spend more of their time outside of the police station, conducting patrols in communities.
Aquino said government needs to increase the number of policemen to meet the growing population. But to do this, the government has to attend to the problems in the PNP that his predecessors left.
One problem left behind by previous administrations is the PNP pension system. According to the President, when he assumed office, the pension of police retirees was indexed to the police payroll system for active personnel and would require more than P4 trillion seed capital to fund it.
"Ibig-sabihin: kahit ibigay pa natin ang buong panukalang P2.6 trillion na budget para sa 2015, kulang pa rin ang pondo para sa isang programa lang-iyon pong pension system," said Aquino.
In the proposed 2015 budget, the Aquino administration laid out P2 billion for the Capability Enhancement Program of the PNP and P100 million for the construction of 18 police stations across the country.