Small is big in the PNP

Small is big in the PNP

Anti-riot police on guard duty, prepared to any eventuality

Our people are trained. ‘They are not trigger happy.                       

— The late MPD chief Lt. Gen. Narciso Cabrera

LET me first congratulate my brother general, Brigadier Gen. Rolando Fernandez Miranda, who has been transferred to the Police Regional Office (PRO) in Western Visayas, or Region VI. I believe this will be a promotion for our dear comrade to the next higher rank of Police Major General.

Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso did not mince words in praising the new Region VI police chief as he commended Miranda for doing a marvelous job during his eight months and 11 days as commanding officer of Manila’s Finest amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and also for capturing the most number of wanted persons and pursuing a relentless anti-drug operation within the capital city.

Our brother general is being replaced by no less than the former PRO chief Brig. Gen. Bernard Leo Francisco. I have not confirmed if the good general is a relative of one of my father’s mentors—a Major Francisco of the Pasay City Police Department, whose first name I have unfortunately forgotten. Still, relative or not of the good major, I look forward to a sterling performance from the new MPD chief.

On a lighter side, we have no doubts that Gen. Francisco will steer Manila’s Finest to greater height—especially since we now have two Francisco’s leading the city government and the city’s police force.

* * *

Last September (the current year), an uncle passed away. He was retired Lieutenant General Narciso Cabrera, the cousin of my father, the late Captain Cipriano Andaya Cabrera, Sr., from whom my name has been derived.

From what I remember, my late uncle was one of the very few police officers then who was of medium height and during his time, policemen were required to have a minimum height to become a member of the police force. However, because of his superior skills and talent, my dad’s cousin rose from the ranks and even became Manila Police Department (MPD), or then Western Police District (WPD), chief due to his sterling performance.

With this in view, it’s not surprising that the House Committee on Public Order and Safety has set its sights on fast-tracking its deliberations on various measures that’s seeking to enhance police recruitment, including the reduction of the minimum height requirement for those who want to become members of the government uniformed personnel.

House Subcommittee on Police Administration chair Sulu representative Samier Tan has actually approved the draft substitute bill for the measures filed by Deputy Speaker Pablo John Garcia and representatives Raul ‘Boboy’ Tupas of Iloilo, John Marvin ‘Yul Servo’ Nieto of Manila, Manuel Cabochan III of the Magdalo party-list, Luis Raymund ‘LRay’ Villafuerte Jr. of Camarines Sur, Joy Myra Tambunting of Parañaque and Alfred Vargas of Quezon City.

According to Tan, the said substitute bill would also incorporate the proposals of representatives from different government agencies, all of whom expressed support for the lowering of the minimum height requirement, instead of abolishing it.

The lowering or repealing the minimum height requirement for applicants for uniformed personnel position, particularly in the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), as well as for the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), has long been the subject of debates not only in the Philippines, but in other countries as well.

Many people see it as discriminatory and unlawful while others argue that establishing a height requirement ensures that officers are physically able to deal with the various functions of the force, be it in the police, fire protection or jail management, the Sulu solon had said.

Tan added that “size is not always the issue because all officers at one point in their career are likely to be confronted by offenders who may be physically larger.”

Outside the Philippines, countries like the United States, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand have abolished height standards and replaced them with various indicators, such as body mass index and physical aptitude test, which he said are “better ways of assessing the suitability of a candidate.”

The substitute bill, known as the PNP, BFP, BJMP and BuCor Height Equality Act, seeks to amend Section 30 of Republic Act 6975 or the Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990, as amended by RA 8551 or the “Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act.”

The amendment provides that an officer or member of the PNP should be at least one meter and 57 centimeters or five feet and two inches (5’2”) in height for male, and one meter and 52 centimeters or five feet (5’0”) for female.

The present minimum height requirements are one meter and 62 centimeters for male applicants and on the distaff side, one meter and 57 centimeters.

The bill also seeks to amend Section 4 of RA 9263 or the Bureau of Fire Protection and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Professionalization Act of 2004.

The amendment provides that BFP and BJMP personnel should be at least one meter and 57 centimeters in height for male and one meter and 52 centimeters for female. The present minimum height requirements are one meter and 62 centimeters for male, and one meter and 57 centimeters for female.

Lastly, it seeks the amendment of Section 11 of RA 10575 or the Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013 so that the minimum height requirements for BuCor personnel would be one meter and 57 centimeters for male, and one meter and 52 centimeters for female. The present minimum height requirements are one meter and 62 centimeters for male, and one meter and 57 centimeters for female.

In this light of reforms being instituted in the PNP, we quote from the late John Lennon’s wife, Japanese multimedia artist Yoko Ono: “You may think I’m small, but I have a universe inside my mind.” (AI/MTVN)

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