MANILA - More guns, houses and a fixed pension system. These and more are just some of the ways the Aquino administration is helping improve the lives of the country's police force.
Speaking during the 13th Police Service Anniversary at the PNP National Headquarters in Camp Crame, President Aquino said the government is allotting a sizable amount in the 2015 budget to improve police capability and visibility.
Aquino noted that the government has already hit its 1:1 police-pistol ratio. He said that in the past, new police officers had to buy the right to use the firearms of retiring cops.
"Dati, dahil kulang sa baril ang inyong hanay, 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," he said.
"Kabado ka pa dahil kapag nagkaengkuwentro, hindi naman puwedeng daanin mo na lang sa pleasing personality ang masasamang elemento. Paano naman naging tama ang ganyang kalakaran?" he added.
The President noted the planned purchase of additional equipment, efforts to upgrade the police's forensic capabilities and a more organized crime reporting system.
These include the use of the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS) to record information on all firearms in the country as well as the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), which stores information on fingerprints of criminal suspects.
Aquino said one way the government is looking after the welfare of the country's police force is through its housing program.
He said 98 percent of its target of 31,200 houses for policemen and soldiers has been completed.
"Katumbas nito ang 30,558 na tahanang naipatayo. 14,040 na unit dito ang nakalaan para sa ating kapulisan, at ngayon nga ay isinusumite na sa [National Housing Authority] ang final list ng awardees sa programang ito," he said.
The PNP is also looking to hire an initial 7,439 personnel of the targeted 30,000 non-uniformed personnel to handle administrative tasks.
"Sa ganitong paraan, ang mga pulis na papalitan nila, makakapagronda na sa mga pamayanan, at talagang matututukan ang pagbabantay sa kaligtasan ng ating mga Boss," he said.
The President said the government is also finding ways to fix the pension system in the PNP, estimated at P4 trillion.
He said the government is allotting P100 million for the construction of police stations all over the country.
He also lauded men and women in uniform who performed heroic acts in answering the call of duty, whether criminal incidents or the anti-communist drive.
"Bilang mga tagapaglingkod ng sambayanang Pilipino, pag-uwi natin sa bahay, pagharap natin sa salamin, dapat nating itanong: Nagawa ko ba ang dapat kong gawin sa araw na ito? Kung ang sagot natin ay oo, hamunin pa natin ang ating sarili, at sabihing: Bukas, hihigitan ko pa ang aking nagawa," he said.