MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) is looking to acquire over 30,000 additional body-worn cameras to be used in anti-crime operations of police stations nationwide.
“We need additional 32,136 units to include all other support units,” PNP chief General Guillermo Eleazar said in a statement on Thursday.
He said the initial 2,696 units of body cameras they acquired have already been distributed to select police station units in key cities in the country and the additional body cameras would complete the PNP’s requirement of 34,832 units.
“But in the meantime that there is still no budget for this additional procurement, we will make use of what we have and hopefully, this would convince our lawmakers to fund additional body cameras for the PNP in the spirit of transparency and effective law enforcement,” he added.
Eleazar expressed confidence that the use of body cameras for police officers will finally happen under his leadership.
He said that he would initially want these body cams used by policemen in the service of court-issued search warrants to clear up allegations of irregularities in such operations.
He stressed that this will serve as protection for both parties – the police operatives and the persons who are subjects of the warrant.
“These body cameras will ensure transparency in police operations and, hopefully, put a stop to allegations that policemen are engaged in the planting of evidence or even the summary execution of suspects,” Eleazar said.
The PNP chief said he has been in touch with the Supreme Court regarding the use of body cameras in the service of search and arrest warrants and that a meeting was held last month between the police and the high court to discuss other matters as well.
At present, Eleazar said the police force is still awaiting the guidance and the protocols of the Supreme Court in using the body cameras so that privacy concerns and other legal repercussions would be avoided.