PNP wish list: Drones, choppers vs ISIS

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 19 2017 09:43 PM

Top Philippine National Police officials face senators at a budget hearing Tuesday. Christian Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippine National Police is seeking a P6-billion budget to boost its arsenal with attack helicopters and drones specifically to combat Islamic State-linked terrorists in Mindanao, its officials told senators Tuesday.

"There's always a threat that the Marawi incident will be repeated. Hence, this request," Deputy Director General Archie Gamboa told senators at a budget hearing. 

The police plans to spend P64 million alone for the purchase of 57 drones.

Deploying drones ahead of the troops in a conflict zone "will be advantageous" as shown by the government's ongoing offensives against ISIS-linked Maute terrorists in Marawi City, Gamboa said.

Resolving the Marawi crisis has proven a challenge to state troops, and they have relied on technical assistance from allies such as the United States to collect crucial intelligence data on enemy movement. 

The PNP equipment wish list submitted to the Senate finance committee totaled P14 billion. It included two single-engine attack helicopters.

One is planned to be deployed in Eastern Mindanao, while the other will be used in the restive region's western part, Gamboa said.

The PNP also intends to buy 21 machine gun-mounted boats "designed" against ISIS to be used in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The tactical boats will cost a total of P400 million, based on the PNP request, which also included 12 armored personnel carriers.