The Philippine National Police (PNP) is requesting President Duterte to buy attack helicopters for its anti-criminality campaign and internal security operations that include the aggressive campaign against communist rebels.
PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas said the procurement of additional helicopters will be part of the 20 air assets that they plan to procure as part of the modernization program of the police force.
“We are hoping that before the term of the President’s ends, we would be able to acquire all these air assets to assist in our anti-criminality campaign, terrorism, CNN (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines),” said Sinas.
Under Duterte’s term, the PNP was able to buy 10 helicopters and one C150 trainer plane, all of them have already been delivered. But one of the choppers crashed in March last year.
Sinas said two of the delivered choppers will be deployed in Davao City for Mindanao operations, two in Cebu for Visayas operations and three in Metro Manila for Luzon operations.
Following the acquisition of the helicopters, the PNP has activated its pilot training program. A total of seven police pilots are now in active service while 10 more are set to graduate. Among those who would graduate are pilots for the C150 trainer plane.
But before the attack helicopters, Sinas said they are planning to buy two choppers that would be used as air ambulances that would be used for their personnel and rescue missions.
And since the insurance was already paid for the Bell helicopter that crashed in March last year, he said they are planning to use the money to buy the first PNP air ambulance.
The Government Service Insurance System has earlier paid the PNP more or less $300,000 for the insurance of the helicopter that crashed. Part of the insurance is the payment for damage for the general that died as a result of the crash and those injured, including then PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa and his classmate Maj. Gen. Mariel Magaway who was seriously injured.
“Once we acquire the (first air ambulance), we will be asking the President to give us additional funds that would be used to buy another one,” said Sinas.
“The air ambulances are really important especially for our forces who would be wounded in action and have to be immediately evacuated,” he added.
Sinas, however, would not say how many attack helicopters they want. But asked if he wants a Blackhawk similar to the recently procured by the Philippine Air Force, Sinas said: “Of course.”