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14,000 cops have no guns

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto revealed yesterday that 14,140 policemen in the 124,738-man Philippine National Police have no handguns and the PNP itself needs to recruit 23,820 policemen to fill up its manpower table.

Thus, Recto said, the Duterte administration’s maiden national budget proposal for 2017 to be submitted to Congress should include funds for these shortfalls so that its law and order drive would not just focus on illegal drugs but on other crimes as well.

Recto said the Commission on Audit’s latest audit on the PNP showed that 16,140 policemen did not have service handguns as of the end of last year.

Out of “147,041 actual PNP uniformed personnel assigned to offices, units, and regions,” only 124,738 have been issued short firearms, CoA reported.

Some 623 officers were, however, using donated handguns while 3,654 officers could not be accounted for or have no record of having been issued service firearms, the audit body said.

Recto said a PNP report showed that 12,900 vehicles were stolen in 2015 while there were 9,643 murder cases and 2,835 homicide incidents in 2015.

“There were 128,389 cases of robbery, theft, carnapping, and cattle-rustling last year. Or someone loses his bag, or her cellphone or the family’s car or carabao to thieves or robbers every four minutes,’’ Recto said.

The CoA, according to Recto, said the PNP’s failure to achieve a 100 percent “arming rate” for its personnel violates a 1993 National Police Commission order mandating a one-gun-one-police ratio.

Recto said the PNP’s gun shortage would have been eased if it did not divert in 2012 a R336-million budget for gun procurement. (MARIO B. CASAYURAN)