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PNP beefs up patrols on PH coasts vs. drugs, crimes



The Philippine National Police (PNP) continues to beef up its capability in airborne and seaborne operations to guard the country’s coastline against intrusions by international drug smugglers, poachers and other lawless elements.

PNP Chief, Police General Oscar Albayalde, said through its capability enhancement program, the police force is set to acquire more floating and flying assets for its Maritime Group and Aviation Security Group to boost the response against criminal activities in coastal waters, including the recent recovery of cocaine in the country's eastern waters.

Albayalde said as police operations will be intensified against the supply of illegal drugs and organized crimes, it entails an upgrade of resources to cope with the additional functions. A total of PHP1,134,388,799.98 was allotted for sea and air assets.

Specifically, the PNP Bids and Awards Committee has approved the procurement of 28 units of high-speed tactical watercraft amounting to PHP336 million, seven of which had been delivered and are currently in service.

An additional 18 units of similar high-speed tactical watercraft are programmed under the 2019 procurement program as additional equipment for maritime operations, police visibility in the shorelines, and maritime law enforcement and public safety operations.

At present, the PNP's fleet of watercraft include 107 police rubber boats, 19 coastal craft, 25 fast boats, four speedboats, and 10 gun boats or dauntless boats being used by 17 Regional Maritime Units, three Maritime Special Operations Units, and other police maritime stations nationwide.

In support of seaborne maritime patrol operations, the PNP is also adding five more single engine turbine and training helicopters, with a total price of PHP798,388,799.98, to its fleet that is expected to be delivered in August to bolster its anti-terrorism operations and air support to maritime patrol operations in high seas.

The PNP chief emphasized that the newly-acquired police equipment will steer and enhance operational capability during seaborne and airborne police operations, in line with the flagship campaign of the national government against terrorism, illegal drugs, and criminality.

Albayalde earlier said the Philippines is a favorite transient point of international drugs syndicates due to the country’s long coastline.

Christopher Lloyd Caliwan / PNA