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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Rep. Yamsuan to PNP: Step up acquisition of body cams

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Bicol Saro Party-list Rep. Brian Raymund Yamsuan has pressed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to fast track its procurement of body-worn cameras (body cams) after learning that it would take almost 20 years for the entire uniformed force to be provided with these devices under its current procurement scheme.

Yamsuan, a former assistant secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), issued the call to the PNP officials present Tuesday’s hearing of the House Committee on Public Order and Safety after learning that the PNP has proposed the acquisition of only 2,000 units of body cams under its proposed budget for 2024.

With a backlog of at least 43,000 body cams as of this year, Yamsuan said it would take at least two decades for the PNP to provide such devices to the entire police force.

“Pag inisip natin, 20 years pa bago tayo ma-fill ang backlog,” Yamsuan told PNP officials during the hearing.

(If we think of it, it would take 20 years for us to fill the backlog.)

The hearing, chaired by Santa Rosa City Rep. Dan Fernandez, focused on several measures seeking to institutionalize the use by police personnel of body cameras during law enforcement operations, and appropriating funds for such purpose.

Yamsuan underscored the importance of body cams in police operations, as these would serve to protect both citizens and police officers from abuse.

“Napakaimportante ‘nyan ngayon especially, hindi lang para sa naging biktima. Biktima rin ang pulis eh. ‘Pag kayo nakasuhan, inakusahan ng mali, kailangan proteksyunan ‘nyo rin sarili ‘nyo,” Yamsuan told PNP officials during the hearing.

(This is very important, especially now, not only for the victims. Police are victims, too. If you are sued, wrongly accused, you need to protect yourselves)

Yamsuan advised the PNP to “crunch its numbers” and maximize the use of its funds to cover the expenses for the procurement of body cams.

He said the PNP should change its mindset and learn to keep up with advances in technology and other disruptive developments in the digital age.

“You should think about yourselves and enhancing the capability of your agency,” Yamsuan told the PNP.

According to PNP Directorate for Logistics Deputy Director Flynn Dongbo, the PNP currently has 2,696 units of body cameras, which were procured in 2021.

In a resolution dated June 29, 2021, the Supreme Court issued its rules requiring police officers to use body-worn cameras while serving search and arrest warrants.

During the hearing, Yamsuan also told the PNP to beef up its National Management and Monitoring Center, which serves as the unified data hub of the body camera system.

The PNP’s Information Technology Management Service will man the monitoring center, complemented by its 17 Regional Monitoring Centers, and 81 Provincial Monitoring Centers (PMCs).

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