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BAGUIO, Philippines – Who are illegally selling Philippine National Police (PNP) clothing online and off? And who are buying these uniforms, especially bomber jackets with the logo of the police?
Police in the Philippines’ summer capital over the weekend stepped up their call for a halt to the illegal sale of PNP uniforms on online selling platforms.
“Kailangan hanapin kung saan sila para matigil,” Police Executive Master Sergeant Arlon Palpag of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) told Rappler on Sunday, April 16. (We have to find them so they can be stopped.)
Palpag said a uniform needs to show the name and rank of its owner.
Without a name and rank, “it’s not a police uniform,” he said of a photo of a bomber jacket sold online.
“Pero kapag meron yung logo ng PNP, yan bawal yan. Dito sa Baguio, ang authorized lang gumawa ng ganyan yung nasa Maharlika,” Palpag explained, referring to an accredited seller of police and military supplies.
Also sold online are PNP athletic uniforms with logos.
On Facebook’s Marketplace, some sellers of daily uniforms claim to be the manufacturers, selling at cheaper prices by cutting out “middlemen”.
“Pero kapag meron yung logo ng PNP, yan bawal yan. Dito sa Baguio, ang authorized lang gumawa ng ganyan yung nasa Maharlika,” Palpag explained, referring to the city’s government-managed livelihood and tourism center.
Palpag said the Baguio police office would bring the problem to the national leadership.
He also said the problem isn’t just in Baguio or the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
Sale offers for the PNP-styled bomber jackets started cropping up on Lazada and Shopping buying sites at the end of March.
Various police officers across regions immediately warned the public against buying the jackets with the embroidered PNP logos.
But two weeks after the first sellers popped up online, the PNP jackets are still being peddled.
Various police units, including the Region 8 Anti-Cybercrime Unit, and the Cavite Police Regional Office, and other subsets of the PNP have denied authorizing sales.
The Region 6 Anti Cybercrime Unit also released a similar warning.
Criminals in the Philippines have been known to masquerade as state security forces.
Around ten men in uniforms similar to those of the armed services staged the March 4 Pamplona daylight assault that killed then-Negros Occidental governor Roel Degamo and eight others.
Earlier in February, six men wearing PNP uniforms killed Aparri, Cagayan Vice Mayor Rommel Alameda and five escorts at the checkpoint in Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya.
In the aftermath of the February ambush, PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin, Jr. called for stricter identity checks during the purchase of police uniforms.
He ordered regional directors to contact accredited manufacturers and sellers of uniforms, and ensure tighter monitoring of sales.
Azurin warned illegal sellers of police uniforms that the PNP’s anti-cyber crime division was monitoring them.
Under the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, illegal or unauthorized use of the insignias of the PNP or any other official office is a violation liable for arresto mayor, or imprisonment ranging from one to up to six months.
Executive Order No. 297 also considers the production of merchandise or clothing with the insignias of the PNP without authorization an offense.
Among the penalties the law prescribes include the revocation of all permits, administrative fines, a full closure of the establishment and its facilities, and the seizure of all paraphernalia related to the production of illegal merchandise. – Rappler.com