Arming all policemen
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
There are about 1,000 policemen in Western Visayas who have no issued firearms. Add to that the entry of 478 police recruits who are slated to undergo a six-month basic training at the Regional Training School 6 in Bacolod City, and it makes it very difficult for any person who is worried about criminality to imagine how the police can handle the problem in his community if so many of them do not have even have a basic firearm.
The good news is that the Philippine National Police is now holding a bidding for the procurement of 59,904 units of 9mm pistols with an estimated price tag of P1.1 billion that should fill up 100 percent of the PNP handgun requirement. This is one of the largest procurements of the PNP since the Capability Enhancement Program was established. If the bidding is successful and the PNP handgun requirement is finally met, it would be a major milestone for the PNP and a serious boost to its often-maligned capabilities.
Western Visayas currently has a total of 8,783 policemen. Assuming that the 478 new recruits all graduate, there is 1 policeman for every 800 people in this region. It is a long way to go before the ideal ratio of 1:500 is hit, but if the PNP does manage to put a handgun in the hands of 100 percent of the policemen who need one, we would have gone a long way as far as police capability is concerned.
Aside from supplying the guns, the PNP must also ensure that there is enough budget for bullets so that the policemen can not only improve their marksmanship skills so that when they point a gun, we can be fairly confident that they will be able to hit their intended targets and that the pistols are actually useful and not just decorations when the situation requires them to be drawn and fired.
Some first world countries do not even require their policemen to have handguns, but unfortunately for us here in the Philippines, it is assumed to be a requirement. Now that the PNP is committed to fill up 100 percent of the handgun requirement, we can expect our policemen to do their job better. Hopefully they strive to meet and exceed those expectations once they are properly armed and equipped.*