BAGUIO CITY - The United States government will increase its budget assistance to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to help improve the organization's investigation and operational capability.
From P400 million, the annual US fund assistance to the PNP will now be P600 million.
Director General Jesus Verzosa, outgoing PNP chief, said that this was confirmed to him by US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas.
''The US government has already expressed its plan to increase the budget support for the PNP from P400 million plus to P600 million plus,'' Verzosa said.
But Verzosa stressed that the PNP does not receive the US budget subsidy assistance in cash or in bulk but through construction of police stations, procurement of some equipment, and training programs for local police personnel abroad.
The recent US assistance is the donation of several speedboats mounted with M60 machine guns that will be used by the PNP-Maritime Group (PMG) in its operations in the western and southern parts of the country.
The announcement in the rise of budget support came several days after the hostage drama fiasco in Manila where the PNP was criticized for allegedly mishandling the negotiation and bungling the rescue operations, what with the death of foreign hostages.
While he would not discuss why Thomas informed him of the increase in assistance, Verzosa confirmed that the information was indeed relayed to him by the US ambassador right after the hostage-taking incident on August 23.
JOINT A.F.P.-P.N.P. FORCE IN DRAWING BOARD
Meanwhile, the military said Sunday that the creation of a joint Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine National Police (AFP-PNP) special operations unit to deal with situations such as the August 23 Manila hostage-taking is now on the drawing board.
Brigadier General Jose Mabanta, Jr., AFP spokesman and Civil Relations Service (CRS) commander, said, however, that nothing is final yet as there are problems that need to be threshed out such as ''non-compatibility'' of the military and police elite forces.
It will be recalled that the creation of the joint AFP-PNP special operations units was ordered by President Benigno S. Aquino III, following the bungled rescue operation during the Quirino hostage-taking that ended in the death of eight foreign tourists and the hostage-taker.
Mabanta confirmed that there had been an initial talk between Lt. Gen. Ricardo David, AFP Chief of Staff, and PNP Chief Verzosa on the matter.
He said, however, that the talks focused more on capability demonstration of the respective elite forces of the military and the police held last week and witnessed by the President.
Mabanta said the President's directive can be done but it may take some time as a little study and some doctrinal changes must first be undertaken.
The AFP spokesman said the first issue in coming up with the joint special operations unit is who will take charge of the command considering its members will come from the AFP and PNP.
He hastened to add, however, that what can be done probably is to put a civilian authority in control the joint unit.
But more than the issue of control, Mabanta said another concern is the inter-operability of the different forces that will comprise the unit, as he emphasized that each has their own specialization in their own right.
He said the PNP elements usually operate in urban areas while the Army's Light Reaction Battalion (LRB) operates in jungles and mountain. The Navy Special Operations Group (NAVSOG) also known as Navy SEALS, on the other hand, is trained for hostage-taking even in high seas while the Special Operations Wing (SPOW) of the Air Force are for hijacking of aircrafts.(With a report from Elena L. Aben)