The Philippine National Police (PNP) has acquired 700 drones to beef up law enforcement, security and safety activities against possible attacks by communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and other threat groups.
PNP chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde, said the drones will be issued to all police operating units, especially to elite units like the Special Action Force and provincial mobile groups.
“In other provincial mobile groups or other regional mobile groups, we do not have drones and it is not a standard to issue drones. Now, around 700 drone units are to be delivered and these will be deployed to various mobile groups. The use of drones in operations such as in rallies and internal security operations will now be a standard,” Albayalde told reporters on Thursday.
The PNP chief said that drones are important since these serve as part of the surveillance operations of the policemen, especially those involved in anti-insurgency operations.
“It’s part of surveillance, (especially) for ambush sites. Remember, ambush sites are grounds occupied by enemies. You cannot just enter that unless you will send an advance team. But if you have drones, you can detect these a few meters before reaching the critical area. That is very important. If the enemies see that, they will be distracted,” he explained.
The drones, worth PHP56 million at a unit price of PHP80,000, are set to be delivered either late this year or early next year.
Earlier on Thursday, three policemen were killed while three others were wounded in ambush by suspected New People’s Army rebels in Barangay Napolidan, Lupi, Camarines Sur.
The casualties were assigned as security escorts of Food and Drug Administration Director General Nela Charade Puno.
Based on the investigation, the police vehicle was initially hit by a blast from an improvised explosive device before the cops were repeatedly shot.
The wounded cops, however, were able to put up a fight, which prevented the rebels from taking away their guns.
On Tuesday, suspected communist rebels also ambushed a group of policemen in Aurora that resulted in the death of PO2 Ronald Ruidera.
Albayalde, however, said that such ambush scenario has long been a modus of the communist rebels.
In Aurora for instance, he said the cops were lured into responding to a report of a truck burned in a remote area of the province, where they will be eventually ambushed. (PNA/Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)