THE Philippine National Police (PNP) should have its own procurement service that will handle all the procurement needs of the police force to make sure that acquisitions of equipment and assets are based on needs of its men, not on what is being offered by suppliers, Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said on Friday.
At a hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs headed by Sen. Grace Poe, Ejercito noted that a PNP procurement unit would play a major role in the PNP modernization program to help meet the equipment demands of the police.
The senator said it will also make sure that procurement of assets is based on the needs of police officers and the institution, not on availability of supplies.
“A separate PNP procurement service should solve the problem of our police not getting the equipment support they need. What is happening right now is that police units just accept what is given to them,” Ejercito added.
The senator cited the “anomalous” P1.2-billion refurbished UH-1 procurement deal entered into by the Department of National Defense (DND) with US-based supplier Rice Aircraft Services Inc. (RASI) that involved the acquisition of 21 refurbished attack helicopters.
According to Ejercito, the DND opted to buy second-hand equipment that other countries had stopped using instead of buying brand-new items as stated in the AFP modernization program.
He also noted that despite availability of funds, the Defense department seems to procure equipment and weapon systems that are being offered by suppliers, not those needed by the soldiers.
“We should put a stop to such practice and I believe that a separate procurement service in the PNP would help improve the institution’s procurement process,” the senator explained.
Poe’s committee is currently deliberating on Senate Bill 2363 or the “Philippine National Police Reorganization and Modernization Act of 2014,” which seeks to modernize the police institution particularly in key areas such as Organizational Development, Manpower Build-up and Training Development, Manual and Doctrine Development, Infrastructure Developmen, Equipment Acquisition and Modernization and Financial Development.
PNP chief Ricardo Marquez, during the hearing, told the Poe committee that the PNP is making a priority the procurement of basic equipment of police officers, and that he is hoping that the PNP could soon start buying equipment to enhance its capability.
“Compared to AFP that is buying so many things, the PNP is still buying basic equipment for our men,” Marquez said, referring to firearms and patrol vehicles.
Marquez told the senators that the PNP also hopes to procure air assets such as choppers that can be used in their operations.
The PNP used to have three Robinson R44 Raven helicopters.
Two were embargoed by the Sandiganbayan because of a pending and allegedly anomalous PNP chopper deal case, while the other one crashed in 2013.
“How can we imagine our PNP not having an eye in the sky? PNP’s need for helicopters is not a luxury, but a necessity, to expand their inter-operability,” Marquez said.
He vowed support for PNP modernization and urged Marquez to present the PNP’s wish list of equipment before the committee.