New PNP chief admits can't eradicate drugs, strives to reduce problem

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 21 2020 02:40 PM

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MANILA—The government cannot eradicate the drug problem, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Archie Gamboa admitted Tuesday, adding that the administration will continue to work to reduce narcotics in the country. 

"'Yong droga naman kasi, Kabayan we have to admit, hindi naman totally talaga puwede matanggal 'yon. Pero sabi niya (Duterte), 'Let's bring it to the very minimum,'" he told DZMM's "Kabayan."

(We have to admit that the drug problem cannot be totally eradicated. But he [President Rodrigo Duterte] said, let's bring it to the very minimum.)

With only 7 months left to lead the 190,000-strong police force before he retires in September, Gamboa said he would also focus on cleaning up its ranks.

"Very important din talaga 'yong lead by example," he said, adding that police leaders lose the moral ascendancy to criticize erring police officers if they are also involved in illicit activities.

During the interview, Gamboa revealed that the President had returned their procurement powers following allegations the organization had acquired overpriced traffic radars.

He said the National Police Commission, which exercises administrative powers over the PNP, would keep a tight rein on them.

"The National Police Commission can always check or nullify the actions made by the PNP. Hindi lang sa procurement, almost all aspect," he said.

The PNP chief said he ordered cops to get fit after weigh-ins showed that nearly half of police officers were considered overweight.

"Remember, ang pagiging pulis requires a lot of stamina, lalo na ang nasa streets... Ang gusto ko healthy lifestyle. It's reminding them also ang pagiging pulis hindi puwede kain ng kain," he said.

(Remember, being a police officer requires a lot of stamina, especially those assigned in the streets... I want them to have a healthy lifestyle, to remind them not to eat too much.)

Amid reports of crimes involving Chinese nationals, Gamboa said the PNP is mulling the possibility of establishing a Chinese desk.

"It's actually upon the initiative of the embassy... By establishing desk, we would understand more sa kanilang culture, salita, para mas mabigyan natin ng magandang attention," he said.

(It's the initiative of the Chinese embassy. By establishing a desk, we would understand their culture and language in order to give them a better service.)

Gamboa was first designated as officer-in-charge of PNP in October after Police Gen. Oscar Albayalde relinquished his post following allegations of coddling with cops involved in drug recycling. He took the plum PNP post on Monday.