MANILA - The Philippine National Police (PNP) is undermanned. Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas, whose office supervises the PNP, confirmed this during the budget presentation of his agency in Congress on Wednesday.
Roxas said not all the positions in the PNP that were budgeted have been filled up.
Gabriela Party-list Representative Luz Ilagan noted that in the past two to three years, only 4,218 out of 4,971 authorized positions were filled up and only 16,503 out of 19,886 positions for uniformed personnel were filled up.
"What are the reasons these positions have not been filled up? What happens to the funds when they are not used?" Ilagan asked Roxas.
Roxas explained, "Unfilled positions and budgets for the filling up of these positions aren't with DILG or its agencies. They are with the MPBF (miscellaneous personnel benefits fund). Until such time a position is filled up, money stays with treasury and released by DBM (Department of Budget and Management)."
"With respect to the question why these positions remain unfilled, government pay is...not high comparative to other private sector jobs," he added.
The PNP is authorized 10,000 additional policemen for 2014 and another 20,000 for 2015.
Roxas said some 30,000 policemen are deployed for internal security operations.
When asked about crimes perpetrated by gunmen riding in motorcycles, Roxas said: "Riding in tandem is means of escape but the criminal act is perpetuated by same gangs or culprits. One of the efforts is Operation Lambat which seeks to accost motorcycles without license plates, registration. Several thousands have been impounded."
He also added that more checkpoints have been deployed. "In NCR (National Capital Region), from 38 checkpoints, this is now 104."
Roxas said there are now 1.6 million licensed firearms in the country. The PNP had to physically check gun licences since they found that some 20,000 licenses could not be traced to a live person.