Police in Philippines suffering from no funding

  • 13/05/2016
Police in Philippines suffering from no funding

Police in Manila are so underfunded that officers say they have to buy their own bullets and it's not uncommon for funeral service cars to give cops a lift along to murder scenes because they have no vehicles of their own.

Rodrigo Duterte won this week's presidential election in the Philippines on a single-issue campaign of crushing crime, corruption and drug abuse.

He has pledged to raise policing standards to the level of Davao, the once-lawless city in southern Mindanao, where he has been mayor for 22 years and the only one in the country that runs its own 911 emergency call service.

Duterte's message, unpolished and peppered with profanities, tapped into popular alarm over a drug-fuelled jump in crime.

In 2012 the United Nations said the Philippines had the highest rate of methamphetamine, or "shabu", use in East Asia.

Captain Rommel Anicete, chief of the Manila police district's homicide division, told Reuters he and his men have been buying their own bullets since the 1990s.

They split the cost of getting two air-conditioners serviced and, while they do share a couple of ageing computers, they are always short of paper for their printer and have no photocopier.

There aren't enough police cars to go around and Anicete said one colleague uses a motorbike to do his policing duties, paying for fuel and repairs out of his own pocket.

The Philippines had one police officer for every 651 people in 2012, according to official data.

The government budgeted 88.1 billion pesos (NZ$2.76 billion) for the police this year, up around 13 per cent from 2015.

But a senior police official said it was still too little.

"We lack patrol cars and secure radios," said the official, who declined to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

"We want to issue a gun for every police officer but those recruited after 2012 will have to wait a bit."