By AMES DEAN H. IBARRA
NAGA CITY — Following a rain of negative news reports regarding poor performance and abusive behavior of some policemen last year and during the first weeks of 2011, the present administration of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has decided to reappraise its manner of allocating and using its budget for the Philippine National Police(PNP).
DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo said that such move is in preparation for the modernization plan of the national government for the PNP. According to him, this plan covers two main areas, namely, capacity building, and facilities procurement and maintenance.
“This plan, however, would focus more on the capacity building for our policemen, which would include additional trainings and seminars from which they would learn how to handle new gadgets and different situations,” Robredo said in a phone interview.
“We intend to put more stress on the trainings more than the maintenance and procurement of facilities because it is more essential for the development of policemen and even the SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics Team).”
Aside from this, DILG has its eyes also fixed on the modernization of police stations all over the Philippines, which means renovations would be done on PNP buildings and new modern technological provisions would be installed in every headquarter and substation.
These changes, according to Robredo, are for better tracking of crimes, which may ultimately improve the performance rating of the PNP during crisis situations and investigations, thereby, preventing anymore gruesome historic events like the Luneta Massacre which had profound effects on the Philippines’ international reputation and the integrity of the police force.
The modernization program has been allocated an estimated budget of P 2 billion this year. Fifty percent of the budget will be spent on the improvement of frontline services in police stations, 25 percent will be allocated for development programs of support units while the remaining 25 percent will be set aside for facilities and maintenance.
“We have to teach our police personnel to be kind and courteous to civilians,” Robredo added. “Therefore, the people on the frontline service should know how to treat citizens who personally come to their desks asking for aid.”
Robredo further said that last years’ budget was not used properly because it was solely allocated to maintenance of old facilities when it could have been used for increasing benefits of policemen. Aside from this, the remaining amount left over by the past fiscal year was reverted to the national budget when it could have been set aside for hiring of more police personnel into the force.