There are enough sources in the 2017 national budget which could fund the immediate purchase of police body cameras, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said.
“If the need is urgent, why wait for the enactment of the 2018 budget? There is also no need to rechannel the proposed budget of other agencies in buying body cams when current appropriations are available,” Recto said.
Recto said the Philippine National Police still has P3.73 billion left in the P5.36 billion earmarked for police modernization projects under the Unprogrammed Appropriations of the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2017.
Malacañang, he added, can also tap the P5.5 billion Contingent Fund, which is the traditional presidential source of funding for unforeseen expenses.
“If the purchase of body cams is a national priority but there is no appropriations cover for it, then the Contingent Fund can bankroll it,” Recto explained.
But Recto said there will be no need to dip into the Contingent Fund due to the large balance of PNP’s share from the Unprogrammed Appropriations in this year’s national budget.
Under the GAA for 2017, release of unprogrammed funds can only be triggered if revenue collections have been topped or if supported by new loans.
“Siguro na-breach nga ang revenue target, o mayroong bagong sources, kasi na-trigger ang release,” Recto said. “If that is the case, then the PNP can still draw funds from this source.”
Recto again debunked PNP claims that it has no budget to buy body- and car-mounted cameras this year, saying that the PNP had in fact received P1.9 billion from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) last August 10 for the purchase of various equipment.
The Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) issued by the DBM for the procurement of P1.9 billion worth of machine guns, boats, motorcycles, anti-riot gear, body vests and “explosive detection dogs” identified the funding source as the Unprogrammed Appropriations of the GAA for 2017.
“Hindi na kailangang maghintay sa susunod na taon. Mayroon pang balanse ‘yung pondo na pwede gamitin,” Recto said.
In the SARO for P1,901,472,364 that it released to the PNP, the DBM authorized the procurement of 12 lots of equipment.
These are: 103 light transport vehicles (P132 million); 126 personnel carriers (P245.2 million); 323 motorcyles (P31 million); 138 rubber boats (P343.4 million); 320 5.56mm light machine guns (P200 million); and 231 7.62 mm light machine guns (P252.4 million).
Also funded by the SARO are 2,248 waistcoat vests (P152.9 million); 11,245 undershirt “level 3-A” vests (P382.3 million); 160 sets of base radio (P88.5 million); 2 forklifts (P1.85 million); 1 lot of “civil disturbance management” equipment (P47.3 million).
The SARO also allotted P24.56 million for 48 “explosive detection dogs,” with a unit price of P511,672.
“Yang P24 million na ‘yan, baka mas mabuting huwag na munang ibili ng aso. Ibili na lang muna ng camera. Kung P10,000 ang presyo ng isang body cam, sapat na upang bigyan ng tig-isa ang 24,000 police officers,” he said.
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