By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Magdalo Para sa Pilipino partylist Rep. Manuel Cabochan III wants to lower the educational requirement for police applicants to address the insufficient number of police force and level the playing field for underprivileged individuals.
He said under Republic Act No. 8551, the Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998, only college graduates are allowed to enter the police force and be part of the PNP.
“This particular provision presents downsides on the pool of applicants that could be recruited and on the force organization of the PNP. Since only college graduates are qualified to join the police force, many undergraduate applicants are stripped of the opportunity to become part of the organization and be able to serve and protect our countrymen,” Cabochan said.
He filed House Bill No. 5746 seeking to amend Sections 14 and 15 of RA 8551 to lower the educational requirement for police applicants.
He said the existing police force is not sufficient to cover all functions.
“A whole lot of personnel are needed, in particular, for maneuver units. Then, it would be a favorable solution to allow (the) recruitment of undergraduate applicants,” Cabochan said, citing that the maneuver units are tactical in nature, and are engaged in internal security operations, crowd control, and disaster response.
“Having 72 collegiate units, along with necessary rigorous training upon recruitment, would already be enough to acquire the basic competencies needed,” he said.
He said his measure seeks to level the playing field for individuals who are underprivileged and cannot afford to go to college.
“This intends to solve the problems of having insufficient police force, and also, making the recruitment process for police officers and non-officers to be more inclusive,” he said.
House Bill 5746 provides that for appointment as officer and non-officer, except those who will be assigned to maneuver units, the police applicants must have finished at least second year college or the equivalent of 72 collegiate units.
When they finished a baccalaureate degree, they may have the option to transfer to other units, it provides.
Cabochan’s bill provides that the age, height, and weight requirements for initial appointment to the PNP may be waived only when the number of qualified applicants falls below the minimum annual quota, provided, that an applicant shall not be below 20 or over 35 years of age, and that any applicant not meeting the weight requirement shall be given reasonable time, but not exceeding six months, within which to comply with such requirement.