By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) is planning to acquire 3,000 body camera units by next year as part of transparency efforts in its various anti-illegal drug operations.
“So we will be able to use the body-worn cameras, 3,000 of them, plus probably, second or third quarter of next year,” said PNP officer-in-charge (OIC), Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa, in a press briefing in Camp Crame Monday.
Gamboa said five suppliers are currently undergoing post-qualification to meet the requirements.
Gamboa said the PNP procurement includes accessories, video management software, computer servers, storage and connectivity systems for the body cameras.
“The PNP will not only procure body cameras but a sophisticated, reliable, and secure system which will allow complete system management, real-time, live streaming, data storage, and backup and overall connectivity and monitoring,” Gamboa said.
He added that a central data center (CDC), a National Management and Monitoring Center (NMMC), 17 Regional Monitoring Centers (RMCs) and 81 Provincial Monitoring Centers (PMCs) will be built to support the systems of body cameras.
The PNP is eyeing to buy more protective gear to support its anti-drug operations.
However, Gamboa said that with the departmental use of the body cameras, the PNP also has to balance it with the provisions of the Data Privacy Act.
The demand for body cameras was floated in 2017 during the tenure of retired top cop and now Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
Congress allotted PHP334 million for the body cameras.
In the first round of bidding, there were eight proponents but all of them had been disqualified.
“So we have to revisit baka naman masyado kaming strikto, baka naman nasobrahan iyung aming standards na wala na pumasa, [So we have to revisit because the standards might have been strict that’s why no one passed],” Gamboa said.
After revisiting their standards, PNP has set new parameters on the specifications and terms of reference.
“Before the post-qualification would run up to almost one month to check their eligibility documents and it would also undergo a functional test,” Gamboa said.
Gamboa said by the end of December, they must be able to obligate the money for the procurement of the body cameras.
He added that the cameras could be used not just in anti-illegal drug operations but also during checkpoints.
Vice President Leni Robredo, who is now co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), said body cameras were “indispensable” in anti-illegal drug operations.
“Kami naman sa [From us in the] PNP, it was a demand that time, so we have to address it. Binigyan kami ng pera [We were given money] so we have to come up with protocols,” Gamboa said.
The procurement of body cameras started in 2017 following the public’s doubts in the police claims that the drug suspects killed in their operations had engaged them in gunfights. (PNA)