PNP to submit plan on beefing up intel gathering to Duterte

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is set to submit to President Rodrigo a plan on improving its intelligence gathering, in a bid to curb the threat of terrorism.

“He (President Duterte) asked us jointly with the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) to submit a plan on how we will improve our intelligence gathering. It includes of course the training, skills development of our personnel recruitment plus the technical equipment. This is only not because of the local terrorist movement natin, yung CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) problem but also the threat group and global problem on terrorism,” PNP chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde told reporters Tuesday.

Albayalde said the President will provide funds for this strategy, adding that he included in their recommendation the acquisition of surveillance equipment in order to improve intelligence gathering to thwart possible terror attacks.

“I think it is a good investment. You know, the problem of terrorism is global and we are not excused from this problem. We have this particularly in Mindanao so we really have to invest on this and we want to thank the President because he appreciates these things,” Albayalde said.

During his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, Duterte said he has taken the helm of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and assigned a Cabinet member in each region to harmonize government efforts in attaining national development and security.

Albayalde said included in their recommendation was the acquisition of surveillance equipment in order to improve intelligence gathering to thwart possible terror attacks.

Since Duterte’s assumption in 2016, the PNP has been provided with not just operational requirements but also morale and welfare services, which have improved living standards of uniformed personnel and their families.

“Over the last three years, the PNP has been able to keep up with our modernization and development plan with the procurement of more and better equipment and recruitment of more personnel,” said PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen Bernard Banac, earlier.

“Between now and three years hence, the PNP is in a better position to perform its law enforcement and public safety mandate thru enhanced operational capability,” he added.

Meanwhile, Albayalde said the PNP is taking all the initiative of supporting the government’s effort in enhancing its internal security postures particularly by pushing for the restoration of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

Duterte reiterated his call for the passing of the ROTC bill during his SONA, noting that it will help strengthen the defense of the country.

“That is very important. We have there is the sense of nationalism, love of country and patriotism for all Filipinos and especially among the youth. It is really very important to us, the love of country, sense of nationalism and patriotism,” said Albayalde.

The House of Representatives earlier voted 167-4-0 to approve on third and final reading House Bill 8961, which makes it mandatory for senior high school students to enroll in ROTC.

House Bill 8961 seeks to amend for the purpose Republic Act 7077 or the Citizen Armed Forces of the Philippines Reservist Act. Under the proposed measure, ROTC training would apply to “all students in Grades 11 and 12 in all senior high schools in public and private educational institutions.”

The bill also states that ROTC training shall be a requirement for graduation.

As provided, the following students may be exempted: those who are physically or psychologically unfit; those who have undergone or are undergoing similar military training; those who are chosen by their school to serve as the school’s varsity players in sports competition; and those who may be exempted from training for valid reasons as approved by the Department of National Defense, upon recommendation by an educational institution where the student is enrolled.

The proposed measure also strictly prohibits the use of ROTC training for “political” objective and for teaching and instilling a particular political ideology on students. House Bill 8961 also specifically bans hazing and other forms of physical or mental abuse. PNA