The Philippine National Police is slowly building up its air patrol assets, PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said on Thursday.
He said a twin engine Bell helicopter would arrive in March while two single engine helicopters will be delivered later this year.
The three helicopters were procured in 2017 and cost P870 million.
“Flying assets, ‘yan ang pinakamahal na kinakailangan natin, hindi ba, but it is being addressed,” Dela Rosa said at a press conference following the blessing of P6.4 billion worth of new police equipment.
“So dahan-dahan nating buuin ulit ang ating Air Group. Dahan-dahan nating ibabalik,” he said.
Dela Rosa the PNP would buy two more helicopters in 2018.
“For 2018 meron na namang dalawa na nakaprogram so magiging five (ang air assets),” Dela Rosa said.
“Siguradong ang magiging delivery date is 360 days, equivalent to one year, so madeliver ‘yang dalawa ng 2019 na,” he added.
The PNP chief said the air group’s assets were affected after a helicopter purchase project was linked to alleged corruption during the Arroyo administration and police officials involved were charged before the court.
The controversy started when the PNP bought two used Robinson R44 Raven 1 helicopters from Manila Aerospace Trading Corporation that were sold as brand new and at a higher price.
The choppers were supplied to the Manila Aerospace Products Trading Corp. (Maptra) by Lionair, allegedly upon orders of Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, the husband of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Mike Arroyo has denied the allegation.
“‘Yung mga luma nating helicopters na matagal na nakatengga doon at naka-standby sa hangar dahil hindi pwede gamitin, ginawang exhibit sa mga kaso against mga concerned PNP officers,” Dela Rosa said.
“Hindi magamit hangga’t masira na, beyond economical repair na so back to zero ‘yung air capability ng PNP,” he added. —NB, GMA News
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