PDEA gets P79-M new firearms, protective gear

The Philippine Drug Enforcement (PDEA) on Friday distributed new high-powered firearms and protective gear to its regional units to boost their capability in leading the government’s anti-illegal drugs drive.

“All in all, the firearms and protective equipment procured have a total value of PHP79,598,672, which will be distributed to PDEA operating units in the country, boosting their capability in the fight against illegal drugs,” PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said in his speech during the turnover ceremony at the agency’s headquarters in Quezon City.

The equipment includes caliber .45 pistols, bulletproof “sando” vests, and tactical protective shields.

PDEA procured 838 bulletproof sando-type vests (Level III A) worth PHP50.28 million and 20 tactical protective/ballistic shields with a total value of PHP13.96 million.

Bulletproof sando vests are made of 100-percent Kevlar Aramid Ballistic Fabric capable of reducing degradation when submerged in water due to its waterproof ballistic panel sealing. It is a Level III-A vest designed to stop body penetration of firearm-fired projectiles and explosives shrapnel and can absorb the impact of caliber 9mm, caliber .45, and magnum .44.

Tactical protective shields are also Level III-A capable of defeating center fire caliber lead core projectile threats from caliber .45, magnum 44, and 7.62 bullets.

Meanwhile, the short firearms consist of 479 caliber .45 (Jericho 941 FS) pistols with a total value of PHP15.351 million. These are designed with advance technology features to be used by PDEA agents in anti-drug operations.

“These pieces of equipment are part of our operational capacity and capability enhancement program as we vow to intensify our fight against big time drug lords and high-value targets across the country,” Aquino said.

The PDEA chief, meanwhile, noted that the required specifications were met and the procedures for the procurement of these items were strictly followed.

While admitting that the illegal drug trade in the country remains prevalent despite their massive campaign, Aquino said they are continuously enhancing their operations nationwide to curb this menace.

“They are always one step ahead of us. If we do something, subsequently, they also have another modus to evade everything. They always find a way. So, we are also doing that now in PDEA, finding methods for us to be at least one step ahead,” he added. (PNA/Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)