COA: 16,140 cops have no service handguns
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - June 30, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Some 16,140 police officers representing 11 percent of the country’s policemen do not have handguns, a Commission on Audit (COA) report released yesterday revealed.

This means that as of Dec. 31, 2015, more than one out every 10 uniformed personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) is performing his or her duty fighting crime unarmed.

The COA report noted the country currently has 147,041 uniformed officers assigned to offices, units or regions, yet only 124,738 of them actually have handguns.

State auditors said 623 police officers do have short firearms but have acquired them either through loans or donations.

The COA report said the PNP should address the issue, considering that the National Police Commission (Napolcom), through a resolution, has required the 100 percent issuance of short firearms to policemen as early as April 1993.    

“As can be gleaned in the above detailed summary report, of the total reported personnel strength of 124,738 or 85 percent were issued with PNP short firearms and 16,140 or 11 percent of the personnel strength are not yet issued with short firearms,” state auditors said.

“There are short firearms loaned from other sources, which must be regulated in accordance with the provisions of PNP Memorandum Circular No. 2007-11 dated Oct. 4, 2007,” the audit team added.

The COA report faulted the PNP management for still falling short of providing its total uniformed personnel with the basic police equipment to enhance their capability for the prevention of crime and other illegal activities.  

“We recommend that management re-evaluate their procurement plan for short firearms in order to complete the procurement and achieve their goal of 100 percent issuance of short firearm to personnel strength under Napolcom Memorandum No. 93-08, approved April 6, 1993,” state auditors said.

In response to COA’s findings, the PNP’s director for logistics commented the PNP has been programming a total of 10,000 units of short firearms annually to attain the 100 percent fill-up to be issued to newly recruited personnel.

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