MANILA, Sept 14 (Mabuhay) — Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos on Wednesday said the Philippine National Police (PNP) lacks around 5,000 body cameras to comply with the directive of the Supreme Court (SC).

NABBED. Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. (2nd from right) presents two kidnapping suspects to the media during a press briefing in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Tuesday night (Sept. 13, 2022). The suspects, Justine Alaraz (left) and Chan Yong Howe (center), were arrested by the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group during an operation to rescue a 30-year-old Malaysian-Chinese woman at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Sept. 12, 2022. (MNS photo)

“According to our chief, we have a lack, siguro mga 5,000 body cameras pa po ang kulang namin (perhaps we lack around 5,000 body cameras),” Abalos said when asked by Senator Risa Hontiveros during a Commission on Appointments hearing.

Abalos said the purchase of body cameras will be done in phases considering that it would require huge funding.

The police organization said it would need 33,000 to 34,000 body-worn cameras to cover all the police units in the country, with 16 of the device per police station.

In July 2021, the SC approved a resolution providing rules for the mandatory use of body-worn cameras during the execution of search and arrest warrants.

Under the resolution, law enforcers must have at least one body-worn camera and one alternative recording device or such number needed to record the relevant incidents during the execution of search or arrest warrants.

In case of unavailability of body-worn cameras, law enforcers shall file a motion before the court to use alternative recording devices for justifiable reasons.

Asked about the Safe Philippines project, which aims to install more CCTVs to reduce crime incidents, Abalos said he preferred investing on applications over additional CCTV cameras in Metro Manila.

He said Metro Manila already has many CCTV cameras.

Due to funding issues caused by the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country, then-DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said the Safe Philippines project was canceled.

In 2019, the DILG launched the project initially in five cities of Metro Manila. Through the project, the DILG aimed to reduce crime rates by 15% and improve emergency response time by 20% by utilizing modern information and communications technology. (MNS)