Did President Rodrigo Duterte’s recommendation for the use of lightweight motorbikes by police units to chase criminals come a bit late? Just recently, Duterte spoke openly on why he preferred a lightweight motorbike, specifically those with 250cc engines, for the police units to effectively chase criminals.
But instead of having these nimble and lightweight 250cc streetfighters, the Philippine National Police (PNP) presented during the regular flag-raising ceremony at Camp Crame on October 26, 2020, 90 brand new Kawasaki Versys 1000 to augment the organizations’ capability in its anti-criminality operations.
These high and mighty Kawasaki Versys bikes are powered by a 1,043cc in-line-four engine that churns 118hp—way beyond the power of a 250cc bike desired by the commander-in-chief for patrol missions. The Kawasaki Versys 1000, categorized as an adventure tourer, tips the scales at 253kg, which is only one of the reasons you would not want to be caught in traffic riding it.
The Versys 1000 has been a favorite choice of weekend riders who want to take a breather in the countryside. It offers a comfortable upright riding position and long suspension travel that pampers the rider to the max, particularly on long rides and highway journeys. With its imposing stance, it’s deemed good enough for police escort duties, too.
It has been a while since the PNP last purchased big bikes to augment its fleet. The last time it purchased a Kawasaki Versys was sometime in 2018, all 310 units propelled by a 650cc engine. A lot easier to maneuver in traffic than its big brother, these midsize Kawasakis are often seen nowadays patrolling EDSA and other major thoroughfares.
PNP chief general Camilo Cascolan said the new fleet of patrol bikes are part of the 2019 acquisition for the PNP Capability Enhancement Program worth P569 million. The other new vehicles and equipment include new shuttle buses, single-cab pickups, four-wheel drive troop carriers, assault rifles, and handheld radios. All these underwent a tedious bidding process and testing procedure to ensure that they fit well for their purpose.
The PNP - Highway Patrol Group, which is the main recipient of these newly purchased bikes, has commenced training on Tactical Motorcycle Riding as well as organizing Motorized Anti-Street Crime Operating Teams purposely against motorcycle-riding criminals operating in urban areas.
In other words, this fleet of Kawasaki Versys 1000 – with a showroom price of P700,000 per unit—had been placed on the PNP’s wish list more than a year ago. And while waiting for the brand new 250cc bikes to show up at Camp Crame based on Duterte’s orders, do you think these Versys 1000cc will live up to their primary mission in effectively pursuing lawless elements? Or they will just end up doing police escort duties?