Use of body cams in PNP anti-drug ops not yet required: Bato

Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 24 2018 12:48 PM

MANILA - The use of body cameras during police anti-drug operations is encouraged but not yet required, the Philippine National Police chief said Wednesday.

Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa said the use of body cameras would depend on availability, adding it would be unfair to require cops to use body cameras if the government could not yet provide the gadgets. 

"You cannot require what you do not provide. Sa ngayon hindi pa natin na provide ang lahat ng istasyon ng mga body camera dahil in the pipeline pa ito ng procurement," he said.

He said the policy to use body cameras during drug operations will be required as soon as the government procures enough equipment for all police stations nationwide.

The government pushed for the use of body cameras during anti-drug operations after allegations of extrajudicial killings perpetuated by the police surfaced in 2016 after President Rodrigo Duterte launched his bloody crackdown on illegal drugs.

Human rights organizations claim that at least 12,000 people have been killed during the war on drugs, bur police records show only 4,000 died during police operations.

According to the new drug war guidelines, the PNP will enforce a one-strike policy for police officers wherein it will sack policemen involved in illegal drugs.

During operations, injured suspects must also be brought to the hospital for immediate medical treatment while those killed should still be subjected to onsite inquest proceedings.

"Maraming salient points na dapat i-cascade up to the station level para uniform ang implementation ng campaign at para 'di tayo masingitan," Dela Rosa added.

Aside from the supplemental operational guidelines for the anti-drug campaign, the PNP is also finalizing separate guidelines for the Oplan Tokhang.