THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has allotted P1.3 billion for the acquisition of more than 20,000 firearms, a police official said Wednesday.

PNP Bids and Awards Committee chairman Police Director Juanito Vaño assured fair and transparent bidding for the procurement of 20,482 units of calibre 5.56 basic assault rifle.

Of the 24 invited bidders, only 12 attended the opening of bids which recently took place at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

"Tinitiyak namin na hindi magkakaroon ng monopolya sa pagbili nitong mga karagdagang armas para sa ating kapulisan at ang papairalin lang namin ay ang competitiveness sa hanay ng mga future suppliers," said Vaño.

Earlier, the National Police Commission (Napolcom) granted PNP officer-in-charge Leonardo Espina the authority to approve and issue permits to import/transport ammunition, explosives, firearms of any type/caliber, weapons systems and accessories attached or pertaining to air, naval and land assets so as not to hamper the performance of the PNP.

Espina then ordered an accounting of PNP firearms as some may have been defective which can put the cop's life at risk if used. (Sunnex)