Press Release
September 2, 2013

Poe wants Patrol 117 centralized

Senator Grace Poe is seeking a comprehensive review of Philippine National Police's Patrol 117 emergency hotline in an effort to deter crimes and respond to crimes immediately.

"We really need to strengthen Patrol 117 and we have to centralize this so that concerns will be routed to the proper precincts. It is a legacy that we can leave," said Poe during a Senate finance committee hearing on the proposed P99.6 billion budget of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for 2014.

In a latest audit report, the hotline-- a national emergency number managed by the DILG where local governments receive concerns--is working in only six regions of the supposed 16 regional call centers.

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas II said during the budget hearing that the emergency hotline, at present, is "not an effective tool" for crime prevention because about "95% of calls being received are for directory assistance, pranks and other types of calls."

"There is an ongoing process of review spearheaded by the National Police Commission to reconfigure Patrol 117 so that it will become effective... While the government has 117, Davao has 911 and every locality has own emergency numbers. We really want to fix this," Roxas told senators.

He added that the government spends some P19 million annually for personnel services alone.

Poe cited a report by the Commission on Audit in 2009 wherein only 8 of 16 regional call centers were functional, with P568.1 million in taxpayers' money being wasted. Putting up Patrol 117 cost the government P1.26 billion. The project was completed in 2003, while the full network, consisting of 16 call centers, was rolled out in 2007.

The lady senator said a centralized emergency patrol hotline is important in the light of the Philippines being a leading business process outsourcing destination.

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