Press Release
February 28, 2021

"Bodycam sa katawan, dashcam sa sasakyan" rule in police ops, patrols pushed

Wednesday evening's botched entrapment which killed four anti-drug operatives in a gunfight among themselves should speed up the implementation of a "may bodycam sa dibdib, may dashcam sa sasakyan" rule in the PNP, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said.

"It is again a bloody reminder of a missing but vital equipment in policing--video recording devices, especially during operations," Recto said.

Recto had sponsored with then Senator JV Ejercito a P5.4 billion fund in the 2017 national budget for new police equipment, including body cameras, "but it took four years and five PNP chiefs to buy some 2,600 pieces."

After failed biddings, the PNP finally took hold of the cameras early this year and are reportedly drafting protocols for their use.

But if 2,600 is the annual number of bodycams the PNP can buy, Recto said "it will take 100 years" to provide every policeman with one.

"And about 20 years if the target is to buy 40,000, on the assumption that only one in every five officers would need to wear one at any given time," Recto said.

Recto said cameras are relatively cheap "at a time when we are buying missiles, attack helicopters, destroyers and fighter jets."

"And if man can send a vehicle with a camera 200 million miles away to Mars, why can't we equip our police patrol cars with dashcams--which every car or food delivery bike seems to have these days? In this age of Facebook Live, that isn't cutting-edge space technology," Recto said.

Recto said making it mandatory for police officers to wear body cameras during routine patrols and also for PDEA, NBI and military units during field operations "will store evidence needed to prosecute criminals. Sabi nga nila, may resibo."

"Played in court, the footage is evidence hard to refute. It will also ensure that SOP is followed during operations. And it cuts both ways. It protects citizens from abuse, and the police from unfounded charges of abuse," he said.

"Ganoon din sa dashcams. Kung may aksidente, or pursuit operations, o kahit kaso ng reckless overspeeding, may video proof," he said.

It is also a tool for police commanders to know if patrol cars did go on their route, Recto said. "Malalaman kung nag-ronda nga ba ang isang patrol car o pumarada lang sa ilalim ng puno. It is a tool for smart policing. Sa ngayon nga, pwede mo-itrack real time ang food delivery mo."

A bill which guides the use of cameras in police work and funds their acquisition has cleared the Senate Committee on Public Order, which Sen. Ronald de la Rosa chairs. Recto praised the ex-PNP chief for championing the idea that cameras be made police standard equipment.

Recto said the acquisition of bodycams and dashcams, plus their support infrastructure should be budgeted by Congress every year.

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