The Japan International Cooperation Agency formally closed Thursday its 34-year assistance program to the Philippine National Police, noting an increased capability of the latter in solving crimes mainly through a Japan-funded fingerprint identification project.
The assistance program, which began in 1980, included the establishment of an automated fingerprint identification system, a firearms control and identification project and the exchanges of technical experts in forensic science, police administration and other specializations.
"Indeed, this program has helped the Philippine National Police fast-track efforts to establish the identity of criminals," Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Toshinao Urabe said in a speech during the closing ceremony at the national police headquarters in the Manila suburb Quezon City.
Aside from the technical development, program manager Takahiko Iiri said the program also instilled professionalism and initiative in police investigators solving crimes.
With the conclusion of the program, national police chief Alan Purisima announced a 10-point action plan to sustain the gains of Japan's assistance.
"Though the JICA program has been concluded, we assure you that we shall continue to maintain and nurture the many contributions you have given us," Purisima said in his speech.
Police officer Augusto Marquez said the national police is currently drafting another crime prevention project that JICA could possibly approve and implement in the future.