A CONGRESSMAN has criticized slow police response to crimes, saying they should respond to emergency calls within 15 minutes. 

“While index crimes went down during the pandemic, from 43,912 in 2020 to 37,842 in 2021, there were still 22 rape cases, 14 robbery cases, 14 murder victims a day last year,” Batangas Rep. Ralph G. Recto said in a statement on Monday.  

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said it plans to hire, arm and deploy 14,208 new police officers in 2023, which will increase its force to 227,410 men and women.  

Under its budget performance indicators for 2023, index crimes would be reduced to 33,793. To meet these goals, the agency promised to respond to calls within 15 minutes in urban areas.  

New hires will bring the police officer-to-population ratio to 1 per 494. 

Mr. Recto said he supports filling all vacant positions first “because there is no use in funding the creation of many new positions when these are barely filled within the fiscal year.” 

Meanwhile, Vice-President Sara Duterte-Carpio vowed to show “no mercy” for criminals and terrorists after she met with top state and military officials on Monday. 

At a livestreamed press briefing, Ms. Duterte said the meeting discussed inter-agency cooperation on national security. 

“Our policy against criminals and terrorists and those that support and espouse their ideologies of violence should be hardline,” she said. “We should show no mercy to criminals and terrorists.” 

The vice-president is in charge while President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. is away for a state visit in Indonesia and Singapore. 

Among those who attended the meeting were representatives from the Philippine Army, PNP, Bureau of Fire Management, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and officials from the Department of Education. — Matthew Carl L. Montecillo and John Victor D. Ordoñez