The procurement of body-worn cameras (BWCs) is now the least priority in the procurement for the Philippine National Police (PNP), a top police official said on Thursday, Nov. 24.
PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said the current priorities are for the move and shoot capability of all police units across the country.
"It's (procurement of BWCs) third in the priority list. The first priority is of course mobility and second is the firearms," said Azurin.
On Thursday, Azurin led the turnover of P761.2 million worth of vehicles, information technology and force protection equipment that were procured through supplemental appropriations, as part of the PNP modernization efforts.
Among those bought were 130 personnel carriers (4x4), 41 units of advance life support ambulance, 1,464 all-purpose vests (tactical vest Level III), 212 units of 5.56mm light machine gun and 8,001 units 9mm striker-fired pistol.
This latest procurement was funded through appropriations for the Capability Enhancement Programs (CEPs) 2019, 2021, and 2022 worth PhP761,219,682.00.
The patrol vehicles will be issued to the Provincial Mobile Force Company and Municipal Police Stations with mountainous terrain while the ambulances to PNP Health Service.
The all-purpose vest will be sent to high-risk police stations of police regional offices while firearms will be distributed to PNP all over the country.
Calls for the procurement of body-worn cameras were raised in the past administration over allegations of human rights violations and extra-judicial killings int he conduct of drug war.
Congress has allocated over P300 million that led to the purchase of almost 3,000 BWCs. The BWCs were already distributed to various police units especially in urban areas.
Azurin explained that BWCs are still on the procurement list but said their distribution will be in urban areas with reliable internet connections.
He added that the procurement of BWCs depends on Congress allocation, explaining that the P2 billion allocation every year for the PNP modernization is being used for move, shoot and investigate capability build-up.