WE kindly call your attention to the Manila Times editorial of August 16, 2017, entitled “Recruitment 101” which claims that a “massive recruitment of policemen” is being done because of “terrorism.”
We are writing to you to respectfully request the prompt correction of flaws in the articlewhich misquoted members of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
The article states that the ongoing recruitment of the Philippine National Police (PNP) is akin to “lining up lambs to the slaughter” and further states that “prospective policemen correctly thought that fighting terrorists is a job for soldiers”.
In addition, the article says that police recruits would be “clueless as rogue policemen who have been deployed to Mindanao” if asked to fight the bandits there.
First, we would like this to be clear: There was not a single writer from your paper present during that meeting to witness the flow of the discussion. The Manila Times’ absence from the event and your use of a single press release as a basis led to your inaccurate editorial.
In light of this, the DILG points out that the recruitment, which Officer-in-Charge Catalino Cuy discussed, is in relation to a question from a member of the Philippine Councilors League (PCL), and is in no way connected to “violent extremism.”
The discussion on recruitment came out during the open forum and was never part of nor in any way related to the “call to action” presented by the undersigned.
The enlistment of more police is a regular activity that continues regardless of such a threat, inasmuch as the government aims to attain the ideal police-to-population ratio.
The 10,000 recruiting limit is the maximum number the 17 regional police training centers can handle and are distributed to various parts of the country.
OIC Cuy’s statement that it “cannot go beyond 10,000” is based on the fact that the training facilities need to put a cap on the number of trainees they take in.
Moreover, your paper’s allegation that the undersigned “unwittingly scared” recruits is an uncalled-for assumption. In fact, the very idea of violent extremism is a terrifying thought—not just to recruits but for every Filipino. In truth, the undersigned’s presentation was a call to action to the PCL to include countering violent extremism as a new component in the Peace and Order and Public Safety (POPS) plan, and it was in no way related to OIC Cuy’s comment.
Lastly, we in the DILG staunchly declare that the PNP is an organization that constantly strives to improve and fulfill its mandate. It has never shied away from going above and beyond to ensure the safety of the Filipino people. To insinuate that the police will be too terrified to face threats to keep the public safe is an insult not just to the police force, but as well as to the Filipino people who hold them in high esteem.
In an age where fake news can be spread easily and where anyone can publish their own content, the need to observe ethical and established journalism discipline and principles becomes more urgent and expected especially among veteran and schooled journalists and editors like you.
Broadsheets, being one of the oldest forms of mass media, ought to serve as a shining beacon of accurate and contextual journalism.
We trust that you shall promptly and fully inform the reading public for them to be made aware of the truth on what really transpired during the dialogue with the councilors.
VIVIAN P. SUANSING
Bureau of Local Government Supervision
Department of Interior and Local Government