INSTEAD of dressing down the Philippine National Police (PNP) over a reported upsurge in crimes, President Benigno Aquino 3rd said policemen should be “pitied” because they still manage to achieve some feats despite their shortcomings.
“I pity our policemen,” the President said during an interview on Wednesday, citing three recent sensational crimes that were immediately solved—the killings of Mayor Ernesto Balolong of Urbiztondo, Pangasinan; businessman Richard King; and international race car driver Enzo Pastor.
According to Aquino, the killers of Balolong and King were arrested just days after the murders while police already have a breakthrough in the Pastor case.
“So that is already a significant change. I think I’d like to credit . . . the police for, one, capturing them and for, two, . . . convincing these witnesses to, . . . to say what they know as opposed to the others [who are afraid to step forward],” the President said.
He added that reforms are being made in the law enforcement system, as well as in the military, to ensure improved public security.
Aquino noted that while there are concerns about the way the police do their job, they have also achieved a lot.
A reform in the police force is increasing the number of policemen patrolling the streets, he said.
The PNP is training 15,000 policemen who were previously tied up with clerical work especially in Camp Crame, the PNP’s headquarters in Quezon City.
Office work there will be taken over by civilian employees, Aquino said.
The government is also working to solve problems in the pension of the police and the military in order to attract more police and soldier recruits, he added.
A law on pension reforms is now in Congress, the President also noted.
He cited the need to increase the number of policemen and soldiers, saying the figure remained at 250,000 since the 1986 Edsa uprising.
To make communities safer, the ideal policeman to civilian ratio is 1 to 500, Aquino said.
There is also massive funding for both the police and the military, which is called “shoot, scoot and communicate,” he added.
The President said the government is investing in transportation—motorcycles, vans and trucks—as well as communication systems for both the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP for them to be more effective.
The police are also regularly conducting checkpoints and stepping up their operations against unlicensed firearms, he added.