Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa welcomed the initiative of some local government units to provide body cameras for their police officers.
Dela Rosa, however, said that the budget for the purchase of body cameras for the PNP is still pending in Congress. Procurement might start next year if the bill is passed.
"Underlying diyan is you cannot enforce what you cannot provide so right now hindi pa ako nakapag-provide sa kanila ng body cam dahil nga request natin for the procurement of body cameras is still pending in Congress," Dela Rosa said in an ambush interview at the PNP Academy in Silang, Cavite on Saturday.
"Next year pa tayo makaka-procure so kapag na-procure na natin then maybe that's the time we can enforce the policy nung body cam nung operation, nung anti-drug operation, and we will do that. But right now I am very happy to hear that some LGUs are reacting to my appeal to buy their anti-drug units ng body cameras so maganda 'yan, kapag babalik na tayo sa war on drugs yung ibang mga police stations are ready na ng body cams. This is a welcome development," he added.
Last week, Pasig City police officers started to wear body cameras during operations, with Eastern Police District director Chief Superintendent Romulo Sapitula saying that this would protect police officers against accusations of misdemeanor as they perform their duties.
The Eastern Police District said that 48 cameras were procured by the office of the mayor, with each of the 10 Police Community Precincts (PCPs) in Pasig City receiving three. The rest will go to the Special Reaction Unit and its operatives.
Dela Rosa earlier said that the PNP would equip its officers with body cameras if President Rodrigo Duterte allows them to return to the war on drugs.
In August, the PNP chief also expressed support for the proposal requiring law enforcers to wear body cameras during police operations.
He said that some P1.8 billion is included in their proposed budget as item for the procurement of 37,540 body cameras. — BM, GMA News