Text and photo by Jay Luna
The Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Equipment Modernization and Enhancement efforts has taken another major leap with the arrival of five new helicopter units as part of the Php 3 billion-worth of police equipment acquisition program to further boost its operational capability and police visibility.
PNP officer-in-charge, Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa said the latest aircraft acquisition was part of the realization of then PNP chief and now Senator Ronald Bato Dela Rosa’s promise to upgrade the air-capability of the national police force.
The five new air assets, that include one Bell 429 Twin Engine, 2 Airbus H125 and 2 Robinson R44 training choppers, were presented and blessed, Monday morning at the PNP Transformational Oval, Camp BGen Rafael Crame in Quezon City.
Gamboa said the delivery of the new choppers is a big boost in the law enforcement functions of the police in terms of air support.
“We now have five (helicopters) and five more are coming, two are towards the end of this year and three more in the middle of next year,” Gamboa told reporters after the presentation and blessing of the newly-acquired equipment.
He added that the two R44 training helicopters will be used to train police pilots in anticipation of more procurement of air assets in the future.
The two training choppers were delivered by Lion Air Inc. represented by Michael Maligat, head of Public Sector Projects Delivery Team and three others.
In a separate interview, Maligat said that the price of the two brand new R44 training helicopters is at P76 million, the procurement process started at the time of then PNP chief Dela Rosa.
“These R44 units are okay for training on surveillance and reconnaissance before the pilots shift to attack helicopters,” Maligat told reporters.
“As individuals of corporate entities, we should all do what we can to support initiatives for the betterment of law enforcement, for the benefit of all,” he added.
Maj. Gen. Jose Ma. Victor Ramos, the chairman of the NHQ Bids and Awards Committee said the funds used for the acquisition amounting to Php 3,030,928,724.01 was sourced from Capability Enhancement Program CY 2012-2016, 2018, and 2019, Regular Agency Fund 2018, Presidential Contingency Fund and APEC 2015.
Aside from the choppers, also delivered were 52 drones; 21,992 units of Galil 5.56mm Basic Assault Rifles; 1,667 units of K2C 5.56mm Basic Assault Rifles; 205 units of K3 5.56mm Light Machine Guns; eight units of NEGEV 5.56mm Light Machine Guns; 141 units of NEGEV 7.62mm Light Machine Guns; 18,354 units of 9mm pistols and 7,962 units of helmets.
The assault rifles, machine guns and helmets will be used by elite units of the PNP such as the Special Action Force.
Also delivered were 21 units of Explosive and Ordnance Division’K9 Patrol Vehicle and 34 units of utility trucks.
Gamboa said the utility trucks will be useful in the country’s hosting of the Southeast Asian Games.
“Before these trucks are dispatched to the regions, they will be used for Southeast Asian Games until December 11,” said Gamboa.
The PNP OIC said the PNP saved a lot of money from the procurement, particularly on the firearms.
For instance, he said each of the Galil assault rifles was only bought for P68,000 compared to more than P160,000 per piece bought by another law enforcement unit.
Gamboa further noted that the latest addition to their equipment is part of the continuing efforts of the PNP leadership and the national government to enhance the firepower, mobility, and tactical capabilities of PNP operating units.