MANILA – Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Tuesday expressed his support for the passage of the bill for the modernization of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“I will support to pass the PNP modernization and restructuring act for this year together with Senator and former PNP chief Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa and we will try to pass as many measures as we can para maitapos natin yung pito o walong mga panukala (we can finish the seven or eight proposals) pending on his committee on how to strengthen the PNP,” Zubiri said in his speech during the 122nd Police Service anniversary in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Zubiri also pledged to support measures to allocate additional funds for the police force ahead of the deliberations for next year’s national budget.

He also revealed plans for the establishment of a summer camp for the police force in his hometown — the province of Bukidnon.

“(PNP chief) General (Benjamin) Acorda Jr. and I have a plan. Hopefully, this dream comes true. There is a large military reservation there in Bukidnon near Cagayan de Oro. What we are planning is to talk to the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and if it is okay with them, we will try to carve out a few hundred hectares to become a summer camp of the PNP and of the PNPA (Academy). We will work on that and I pledged my 100 percent support for funds while I am in the Senate. Let this be a legacy for the current leadership of the PNP,” Zubiri explained.

Zubiri also paid tribute to the rich history of the PNP and all its triumphs for the past 122 years — from responding to the simplest forms of crime in the streets to neutralizing and arresting high-profile criminals and dangerous criminals.

He also praised the PNP for assisting in disaster relief and response efforts, especially in the wake of the recent calamities in the country.

Zubiri also credited the police force for effectively performing its mandate to preserve peace and order.

The senator also recognized General Acorda’s and President Ferdinand R. Marcos’s steps to fight criminality “reformation, rehabilitation and of course, apprehension of the major crime syndicates but through the rule of the law.”

Acorda, meanwhile, said the top lawmaker’s presence during the event is a powerful affirmation of the legislative body’s recognition of the vital role played by the PNP in the progress of the nation.

He said the modernization bill and the other proposed legislations benefiting the PNP will help the police force to uphold the rule of law, ensuring efficiency, transparency, and accountability and the aim is to enhance public trust, improve community relations, and create a safer and prosperous environment for Filipinos.

“In the presence of our distinguished Guest of Honor and Speaker, we stand united in our commitment to the ‘Nagkakaisang Pulisya at Pamayanan’ vision. We march forward in full support, guided by the torch of honor and duty, with the aspiration of our President Ferdinand Marcos Jr for a ‘Bagong Pilipinas’,” Acorda noted.

He also touted the PNP’s significant strides to improve frontline police services resulting in the completion of 140 buildings and facilities, provincial offices, and other essential infrastructures.

“We also prioritized bolstering the organization’s capabilities through our Capability Enhancement Program (CEP). Presently, we have 52.83 percent filled up on our mobility assets, 74.68 percent firepower, 28.43 percent for communication equipment, 24.61 percent for ISO/Terrorism tools, and 61.98 percent for investigative equipment,” he said.

Acorda added that the PNP has invested in Information and Communications Technology infrastructures through the S.M.A.R.T. (Secured, Mobile, Artificial Intelligence-driven, Real-time Technology) Policing Program aimed to enhance police services and provide fast and high-quality assistance to the public.

“In line with this objective, we have made the National Police Clearance (NPC) System more accessible to our fellow citizens, ensuring a more convenient process for obtaining it,” he added.

The service is now available in 353 police stations, malls and commercial hubs and generated a total revenue of more than PHP309 million and successfully apprehended 557 wanted persons.

Acorda said the majority of the PNP offices have become ICT compliant, allowing them to streamline numerous internal processes which include optimizing recruitment and training procedures, improving day-to-day tasks, expediting investigations, crimes solutions and even facilitating the processing of retirement claims.

“Our commitment to leveraging technology enables us to provide better services and enhance public safety through the recently launched i-Report — a platform which enables citizens to report crimes in real-time through the DICT e-gov ph super app,” Acorda said.

The PNP chief also presented achievements of the force from July 2022 to June 2023 — which include the arrest and surrender of 84,663 wanted individuals; the successful recovery and surrender of 50,106 loose firearms; neutralization of 367 criminal gangs leading to the surrender and arrest of its 2,355 members; and confiscation of estimated PHP16.9 billion pesos worth of illegal drugs. (PNA)