Singapore has recently decommisioned three of its 55-meter patrol vessels.
While it was reportedly said that Singapore will scrap these patrol vessels (sayang!), it is still worthy to see if it can be donated instead, considering that these were just commissioned in 1996 and 1997. These are “newer” compared to some PN vessels in commission.
If the PN or PCG is not interested, the PNP Maritime Group’s patrolling and law enforcement presence in the territorial waters of the country will be greatly enhanced, even with just 1 of these. This is to consider the archipelagic state of our country and the fact that the Group is policing the whole of the archipelago.
However, major overhaul is necessary for it to fit the policing function that the PNP MG is doing. For one, the large guns must go as it won’t serve the purpose of PNP MG. Instead, 50. Cal and M60 LMG should replace those. By eliminating the major armaments, it will undergo a “demilitarization” and transform into a “Police Patrol Vessel”.
One big issue though is the operational status of these vessels. As it may need a lot of repairs and renovations, aside from the projected maintenance that these vessel will require.
Nevertheless, a wise guy once said, “Beggars cannot chose what they get!”
However, even if it is not possible to acquire these SG patrol vessel, the PNP MG and the PNP leadership need to realize the need of a bigger multipurpose vessel. History told us that the PNP has played major roles in various national events. And as the Constitutionally mandated Police agency, it need not only police the land territories of the Philippines, but the water territories as will.
Policing in the perspective of the PNP is enforcement of law, arrest of criminal offenders, aiding in their prosecution and ensuring that the to they will face justice by testifying in the court trials. That is the complete package of Policing compared to a mere law enforcement operation where the operatives arrest the suspect and the process ends by turning over the suspects to relevant agencies.
In most instances, cases that emanate from mere law enforcement that got turned over to an another agency will be dismissed in the prosecutor level or in court, due to the fact that most of these are cases of warrantless arrests. And the personnel of the agency who got turned over into has no personal knowledge of the case at hand.
The PNP and its Maritime Group, being in the front line, together with other law enforcement agencies will be more effective when executing these functions by virtue of a “Whole of Government” approach. By having a large vessel of its own, the PNP MG can participate in those activities.
Aside from that, as mentioned, the Philippines is archipelagic. The units of the PNP is distributed across the islands of the country. Whole local units can function indepentdently and autonomously, there is still the need of an inter-island vessel.
If the PNP was able to recognize the need of a multipurpose helicopter to move personnel without relying from other agency, as there are so many lessons learned in the past for that. The need of a larger vessel capable of transporting bigger, larger volume payloads must also be realized.
Aside from its function as a patrol vessel, it can transport troops and other personnel of the PNP, again without relying to other agencies and or commercial means. It will therefore support the primary mandate of the PNP.
In the end, I heard a rumor about the offer to the PNP from an east asian country that comprises of a 50+meter vessel/s. It will serve primarily as a patrol vessel but will have a multipurpose support role.
While we don’t peddle rumors here, we do hope that this one is true.