Police officers march in formation. Jonathan Cellona for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA - With very few applicants, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is having a hard time recruiting new people to join the service even as it aims to increase police visibility.
PNP Chief Ricardo Marquez told the Senate finance committee on Monday the police force needs at least 10,000 new personnel this year.
However, it was only able to recruit 4,600 so far.
Marquez said the country's improving economy and increasing opportunities in other sectors contributed to the PNP’s recruitment problem.
''Marami nang employment opportunities today … Marami nang puwedeng pasukan ang ating mga college graduate (There are many employment opportunities today. Our college graduates can now be employed in many fields),'' he told reporters after the PNP’s budget hearing.
Marquez wants the PNP's entry requirements revised so that even those who do not have a college degree can apply to be part of the police force.
According to the PNP website, the general qualifications for aspiring police officers:
1. A citizen of the Philippines;
2. A person of good moral character;
3. Must have passed the psychiatric/psychological, drug and physical tests.
4. Must possess a formal baccalaureate degree from a recognized learning institution;
5. Must possess any of the following eligibilities;
PNP Entrance (NAPOLCOM)
RA No. 1080
PD No. 907
(For Lateral Entrants), RA No. 1080 (Board and Bar Examinations)
6. Must not have been dishonorably discharged from the military employment or dismissed for cause from any civilian position in the government;
7. Must not have been convicted by final judgment of an offense or crime involving moral turpitude;
8. Must be at least one meter and sixty-two centimeters (1.62m) in height for male and one meter and fifty-seven centimeters (1.57m);
9. Must weigh not more or less than five kilograms (5 kgs) from the standard weight corresponding to one’s height, age, and sex;
10. Must not be less than twenty-one (21) nor more than thirty (30) years of age
Marquez said that at present, a policeman serves 683 people when the ideal ratio is one police for 500 people.
Police officers prepare for protesters. Jonathan Cellona for ABS-CBNnews.com
Under its proposed 2016 budget, the PNP's budget for personnel services - which includes the salaries and benefits of its employees - increased from P60 billion to P75 billion.
At the budget hearing, finance committee chair Senator Loren Legarda called on the PNP not only to increase police visibility, but also to make sure all cities particularly in Metro Manila are well-lit and have closed-circuit television cameras. She said the PNP can use collections from the motor vehicle user’s charge to fund this.
Marquez noted that Mandaluyong and Pasig City, Ermita in Manila, and Masambo and Cubao in Quezon City have the highest number of robbery and theft incidents in the metro.
However, he said ''Oplan Lambat Sibat'', the PNP's statistics-driven campaign against crime, has helped lower the crime rate.
''This model has been running in Metro Manila for the last 15 months and we have seen a considerable reduction in index crime,'' said Marquez, adding that the program will soon be implemented in other parts of the country.
Still, Legarda cited perceptions living in the capital is unsafe.
''I would like to feel safer in Metro Manila. While I will not dispute your findings when you say that there's a reduction, the general sentiment or feeling is not that,'' Legarda said. ''You're probably correct but we must also have that assurance that it's actually happening.''