LAWMAKERS have again called for the lowering of the height requirement for admission to the Philippine National Police (PNP), to give a chance to qualified applicants especially those from the indigenous peoples (IPS) who lack height.
During a budget hearing of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Nueva Vizcaya Representatives Luisa Cuaresma and Magnolia Antonino urged the PNP to give consideration to applicants who do not meet the height requirement, noting that the country is in need of 10,000 additional policemen.
Cuaresma said applicants from the IPS have raised the matter to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.
“Sometimes they get a waiver from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples because as we all know, some Kalanguya, Ibaloi and Ifugaos are really short people,” she noted.
Cuaresma filed a bill seeking to amend Republic Act 6975 that established the PNP and RA 9263 or An Act Providing for the Professionalization of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
The bill seeks to lower the height requirement for members of the PNP, BFP and BJMP from 1.62 meters to 1.52 m for males, and from 1.57 m to 1.42 m for females.
Antonino said the bill was filed during the previous 16th Congress but was vetoed by then President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
“I hope we can work closely on that bill. We will take it up at the proper forum which is the Committee on Public Order and Safety,” Antonino said.
In his 2013 veto message on Senate Bill 3217 and House Bill 6203, Aquino said a waiver of the height requirement is “allowed under certain conditions.”
“Hence the total repeal of the height requirement among these service bureaus is unnecessary,” he added.
“While I recognize the noble intent of this measure to address height equality among these bureaus, I am also seriously apprehensive of the concerns propounded by the PNP and BJMP on the safety of their personnel in the performance of their duties, as well as public safety in general,” Aquino said.
“As raised by the BJMP, jail officers, by the nature of their work in guarding detainees or escorting criminals, must possess the necessary physical attributes to perform their functions effectively. Likewise, public safety is paramount in law enforcement by the PNP, as well as in firefighting by the BFP,” he added.