The House Committee on Public Order and Safety approved on Thursday the consolidated bill proposing to lower the height requirement for membership in law and public order enforcement units.
After finding no opposition except from various law enforcement agencies and departments, the House panel chaired by Masbate Rep. Narciso Bravo decided to forego another hearing on the consolidated measure and endorse the bill for plenary approval.
Seven bills were consolidated by the Sub-Committee on Police Administration that strongly supported passage of the measure.
Authors included Reps. Alfred Vargas (PDP-Laban, Quezon City); Manuel Cabochan III (Magdalo Partylist); Raul Tupas (NPC, Iloilo) and Yul Servo (NP, Manila), among others.
Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate together with Reps. Gabriel Bordado Jr. (LP, Camarines Sur) backed the contention of the authors that performance of men in uniform, not height, is all that matters in carrying out their duties as peace and order officers.
Cabochan, a former military officer, noted that minimum height requirement for entrance to the elite Philippine Military Academy is just five feet.
He pointed out that PMA produces commissioned officers to be assigned to the Armed Forces of the Phiilippines.
In his bill, Cabochan noted that current height requirement for aspiring policemen is 5’4” for males and 5’2 for females.
“However, according to studies, Filipinos have an average heigh of 5’3.7 for males and 4’11 for females,” he pointed out.
Cabochan called for the setting of minimum height standards for male at 5’2 and for female, 5’0’.
Cabochan, Vargas and other authors of the pending legislative proposals want to repeal the height requirement for applicants to the PNP, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and the Bureau of Fire Protection.
In his bill, Vargas wants personnel of the Bureau of Corrections be included in the proposed “PNP, BFP, BJMP and Bucor Height Equality Act.”
In his bill, Vargas also sought a waiver of the height requirement rules for members of cultural communities and indigenous Filipinos.
“Many competent applicants are disqualified because of the current height requirement in the PNP, BFP, BJMP and Bucor. As a result, government service is deprived of competent people to be employed and included among these ranks,” he said.
In pushing for enactment of his bill, Tupas cited provisions of the United Declaration of Human Rights and the 1987 Constitution on Social Justice and Human Rights.
Tupas called for the repeal of the minimum height standard for various law enforcement agencies, saying that this appeal is “based on the principle that all people have equal rights to be employed unhindered by biases that have nothing to do with their merit or competence to carry out their duties.”