SARANGANI, Philippines – Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II dismissed allegations of anomalies in the Philippine National Police’s acquisition of new patrol cars.
Roxas, who chairs the National Police Commission (Napolcom), led the turnover of 7 new patrol cars to the province of Sarangani on Friday, May 22.
When asked by reporters about accusations that the India-based Mahindra Company cars were “too expensive” and “controversial,” Roxas shot back: “Palagay ko paninira na yan eh. Paano mo masasabing mahal (Those are baseless accusations. How can you say they’re too expensive)?”
The reporter answered that the accusations came from media reports.
Roxas explained: “Unang-una, ito ang nanalo sa bidding; P860,000 ang bawat isa nito. Ang sunod, ang Toyota ay P950,000….So ang bibilhin ba natin ang mas mahal? Lahat ito sila ay pasok sa specifications ng PNP,” Roxas said.
(First of all, this is the company that won the bidding. Each car is worth P860,000. The next bidder, Toyota, offered P950,000 per vehicle. Will we buy the more expensive one? These vehicles fall under the specifications set by the PNP.)
The 7 patrol cars in Sarangani are part of the first 80 the PNP will be distributing to different provinces and regions in the country. Earlier this week, Roxas led the distribution of 12 vehicles in Zambales, 10 in Bataan, 18 in Pampanga, and 10 in Koronadal.
Another 23 vehicles will be distributed in Western Visayas next week.
“Alam mo yung mga naninira, hindi ko na iniisip yan eh. Ang iniisip ko yung serbisyo. Ito, totoo na nakakatulong sa ating mga kababayan (I don’t pay attention to the detractors. I only think about service. This, this is real service that helps our countrymen),” Roxas said.
The controversy over the vehicles is nothing new.
Lawmakers want a probe into the P1.317 billion-deal to supply the PNP with 1,490 units of 4x2 patrol cars, on allegations that it was irregular. Recently, the PNP also acquired 4x4 Kia patrol jeeps, costing P1.895 million each, this time for more far-flung and hard-to-reach provinces.
When asked about the controversin latet April, Roxas said he was “welcome” to any probe. “This is a really straightforward bid. And we welcome it absolutely,” Roxas told reporters in Camp Crame then. (READ: Roxas 'welcomes' probe into PNP patrol jeeps)
The acquisition of new patrol jeeps is among the many upgrades in store for the PNP.
“Bahagi ito sa malawakang programa, sa buong Pilipinas. Walang pinipili – walang partido, walang pulitika, kung saan lahat ng bayan, parehas ang ating pagtrato, pantay-pantay…sa larangan ng seguridad, ng peace and order, kailangan binibigay ang lahat, hindi pwedeng pumapasok ang pamumulitika,” Roxas said in Saranggani.
(This is part of our country-wide program. We do not discriminate – no parties, no politics. In this program, we treat all towns equally. When it comes to security, peace and order, we give towns everything we can. Politics cannot play a part here.)
A bulk of the first 80 vehicles, Roxas said, were sent to Region 3 in view of its involvement in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings. He said the priority is to release all vehicles allocated to a particular province in one go.
“Nagkataon lang at medyo malayo-layo ang Sarangani, medyo isolated at malalaki ang mga bayan dito, malalayo ang mga kabarangayan at medyo may concern dito tungkol sa internal security situation,” Roxas said, when asked why Saranggani was among the first to be given the new patrol cars.
(It just so happened that Saranggani is far, slightly isolated and the towns here are big. The barangays are far apart and they have concerns over their internal security situation.)
A new batch of patrol vehicles are set to arrive every month. – Rappler.com