Marcos wants PNP to improve communications especially amid disaster, crisis

President Ferdinand ”Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday instructed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to improve and ensure a good communications system within the police organization.

During the PNP Command Conference held in Camp Crame, Marcos said the police force should be more strategic in its procurement of communications equipment to develop its interoperability, especially during times of emergency and crisis.

“We have to be able to communicate to each other, lalung-lalo na dito sa mga disaster response. Kailangan alam natin kung ano ‘yung situation on the ground. Kailangan ‘yung nandoon na pulis, makapag-report kaagad na may nangyari, ganito ‘yung situation, ito ‘yung kailangan namin,” Marcos said.

(We have to be able to communicate to each other, especially when it comes to disaster response. We should know the situation on the ground. Cops on the ground should be able to report immediately when a situation has happened. That’s what we need.)

Marcos also told PNP chief Police General Benjamin Acorda Jr. to secure a plan to improve its communications capacity as he raised concern about the reported low equipment capacity of the police organization.

“We really need to come up with a plan to improve the communications capability of PNP. You cannot do your job without being able to communicate because mag-aantay kayo ng instructions, magre-report kayo sa central office, et cetera (you will wait for instructions, you will report in the central office),” he said.

“So that’s something that, I think, we need to look into very well, kasi ‘yung fill-up mababa masyado. Even digital radio, tactical—hindi tayo umabot ng 40% in any of the categories,” Marcos added.

The Presidential Communications Office said that as of February 14, the PNP is still far from filling up at least half of its requirement for communications equipment. It recorded a 32.05% fill-up for digital radio, 33.98% for tactical radio and 2.48% for satellite phones.

The PCO said that the procurement of these equipment is programmed under the police’s Capability Enhancement Program (CEP).

The PNP has yet to complete its purchase of 18 units of conventional repeaters amounting to P54 million and 80 units of satellite phones amounting to P6.5 million under the CEO 2023, according to the PCO.

Meanwhile, for CEP 2024, the PNP is planning to procure 2,039 units body worn cameras, one unit of digital trunked radio system, an additional 18 units of conventional repeaters, and 420 units of VHF low band handheld radio, which costs P585 million.

According to the PNP, the procurement under the CEP 2024 is delayed due to issues in the Terms of Reference.

Communications equipment

Further, Marcos told PNP officials to study the use of other communications equipment, which may be suited in local situations, saying that technology nowadays is getting cheaper and better.

”The advantage that we have is that technology is getting cheaper. Satellite phones are getting cheaper. All kind of communications equipment are getting and better,” Marcos said.

He also reminded police officials to ensure that all equipment for communication are standardized to ensure interoperability in the Philippines as well as to provide a secured network where communications between units and offices within PNP can work around.

At a separate press briefing, Acorda said that aside from improving the communication system, the President also gave instructions on the cyber capabilities of the police force.

”The intention of the President is that really gusto niya ang ating mga line units lalo na sa mga baba natin, those who are performing law enforcement operations especially in some areas na medyo malalayo, magkakalayo. He emphasized the importance of communication,” Acorda said.

”With regards to the capabilities sa anti-cybercrime units natin, gusto rin niya na talagang ma-enhance itong unit na ito (he wants this unit to be enhanced). We also presented some of our projects na gusto naming mangyari,” he added. — with Joviland Rita/RSJ, GMA Integrated News

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