The Philippine National Police is upgrading its maritime capabilities in order to address the issue of seaborne smuggling.
PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said that more modern motorized patrol vehicles will be purchased by the law enforcement agency. Procurement for the modernization program was held last year. A portion of the PNP’s 2019 budget is also set aside for maritime capability enhancement.
Additional personnel will also be recruited and trained to strengthen current maritime operations.
In addition to the PNP’s maritime operations and continuous patrols, bilateral agreements with the Philippines’ neighbor countries have strengthened the country’s borders against smuggling operations.
PNP Maritime Group director Chief Supt. Rodelio Jocson said that last year’s procurement approved 28 gunboats for the force. Seven of these have already been delivered and the remaining 21 are expected to be turned over within the year. Several drone units were also acquired to help the police counter drug smuggling.
“The procurement of drones comes with the construction of drone centers and training of drone pilots,” said Jocson
According to Jocson, the PNP have will purchase another 18 gunboats this year.
The Philippines is an archipelago, making it difficult to seal off all coastlines. International drug syndicates often take advantage of this and use the country as a transient point for their illegal shipments.