MANILA — Index crimes in the country were down by nearly 20 percent in the first 2 months of 2023 compared to the same period last year, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Tuesday.
The figures were included in the report presented by PNP chief Rodolfo Azurin Jr. before House Speaker Martin Romualdez during their meeting early Monday night with senior police officers.
The number of crimes recorded from Jan. 1 to Feb. 25, 2023, was 19.49 percent lower compared to the same period in 2022, said Jean Fajardo, spokesperson of the PNP, in a teleconference with reporters Tuesday.
Fajardo said that in the same meeting between the police and House leadership, Azurin appraised Romualdez of updates on efforts being pursued by the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) for cases involving shooting against elected government officials.
On the ambush against the group of Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal "Bombit" Adiong, she said police investigators are set to file cases either Tuesday or Wednesday against the identified suspects, "particularly the group of Gandawali."
Police are also pursuing a lead in connection with the ambush of Aparri, Cagayan Vice Mayor Rommel Alameda, Fajardo said.
"Inaasahan natin na once ma-enhance 'yung ating mga nakuhang CCTV footage at iba pang mga information na nakarating sa ating SITG ay.. anumang araw ngayon ay magkakaroon ng breakthrough dito sa kaso na ito," the police spokesperson also said.
The PNP also addressed the remarks made by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) President Arsenio Evangelista that the police organization was ill-advised in suspending permits to carry firearms in the areas of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Nueva Vizcaya, and 63 barangays of North Cotabato.
Fajardo said that while they respect the sentiment of the VACC, the police organization has to limit and contain the proliferation of firearms.
Priority bills being pushed by the PNP were included in the discussion, primarily the recruitment of personnel in the police force, said Fajardo.
One of them was the return of the "yearly PNP recruitment quota.".
"Dati kasi 10,000 ang yearly quota ng PNP para mas maka-adjust tayo doon sa ating mga deployment na kinakailangan natin kasi the past few years at hanggang ngayon nasa 1,000 lamang ang PNP recruitment quota," she said.
"At kung titingnan natin 'yung police to population ratio ang ideal ay nasa 1 is to 500 at ikumpara natin 'yung bilang ng PNP na nasa kabuuang more or less 227,000 versus sa more than 100 million population nationwide ay napakalaki ng disparity with respect doon sa ideal police to population ratio," Fajardo added.
She said the PNP also discussed before Speaker Romualdez and other House leaders the need to upgrade the current PNP staffing pattern.
"Ang kasalukuyan kasi natin ginagamit ay yung 1997 to 1998 staffing patterns at kung ikukumpara natin napakahabang panahon na natin na yan pa rin yung organizational structure ng PNP but considering yung current and emerging crime threats and trend natin ay wala pa doon yung staffing patterns, yung mga specialized units katulad ng ACG," said Fajardo.
Fajardo told reporters that Romualdez gave a positive response to the discussion presented by the PNP and was even surprised to learn that the police organization is limited to the recruitment of 1,000 police personnel every year.
Additional allocation was also requested by the House leadership for the purpose of improving the capacity and capability of the PNP.
"Makabili tayo ng mga kinakailangan equipment at mga systems improvement in terms of technology at needed natin mga gamit lalong lalo na yan mga high-precision and high-definition drones pati na yang mga cyber-related equipment natin para maka-adopt tayo sa mabilis natin pagpapalit ng mga technology at nangako ang ating Speaker nag-commit siya na susuportahan niya ang ating mga panukala," said Fajardo.