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Police beef up sea, air assets

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Following the recent recovery of cocaine blocks on the eastern seaboard of the country, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is beefing up its equipment to strengthen its capability in the campaign against illegal drugs.

In the past two weeks over P871 million worth of floating cocaine bricks were recovered in different parts of the country’s eastern seaboard.

PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde on Friday said the PNP capability enhancement program has programmed more floating and flying assets for its Maritime Group and the Aviation Security Group to boost police response against criminal activity in coastal waters.

He said the total amount of the desired upgrade will amount to P1.1 billion, which will be allotted for the sea and air assets.

At present, the PNP has 107 rubber boats, 19 coastal craft, 25 fast boats, four speed boats and 10 gun boats being used by 17 Regional Maritime Units, three Maritime Special Operations Units and several other police maritime stations nationwide.

Albayalde said 28 units of high-speed tactical watercraft and eighteen more units of similar watercrafts are now included in this year’s PNP equipment procurement program.

In support of seaborne maritime patrol operations, Albayalde said the PNP will be adding five more single engine turbine and training helicopters with the total price of over P798 million to its fleet.

Expected to be delivered in August 2019, Albayalde said the helicopters would bolster anti-terrorism operations and provide air support to maritime patrol operations in high seas.

In April 2018, the PNP received the first of three brand new multi-role helicopters.

The helicopter, a Bell 429 twin engine rotary wing aircraft was acquired through public bidding and the contract was awarded on 28 June 2017 to Bell Helicopters Textron of Fort Worth, Texas for a contract price of P435 million.

The 42 foot-long, 13 feet high aircraft has a crew of one pilot and can carry up to seven passengers including one beside the pilot. It is powered by two engines and is rated for a range of up to 722 km. and a cruising speed of 270 kph.

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