MANILA - Two senators on Monday pushed to increase the number of policewomen in the Philippine National Police, saying gender should not be the basis of recruitment in the country's law enforcement agencies.
Senate Bill No. 1562 seeks to increase the recruitment quota for females in the PNP to 15 percent from 10 percent.
"The idea that law enforcement is a task meant for the cold, calculating man is not merely obsolete; it is untrue," Senate Committee on Public Order chair Ronald Dela Rosa said in his sponsorship speech.
"In countless times and cases, women have shown the country their kind of bravery. The kind that listens and understands. The kind that steps back from judgment, and moves forward in empathy," said Dela Rosa, who was once a PNP chief.
Dela Rosa gave several examples of women - both active personnel and cadets - who were considered as trailblazers in the industry dominated by men.
Female Cadet First Class Gemalyn Sugui topped the Philippine Military Academy's Masidlawin Class, while Cadette Lei Anne Banico Palermo was hailed as the valedictorian of the Philippine National Police Academy's Mandayug Class.
"This is not the first time that females have graduated as valedictorians of their class, whether from the PMA or the PNPA," he said, noting that women dominated batches 2019, 2017, and several other years.
Dela Rosa also lauded Siquijor police chief Captain Judith Besas for forming an all-female troop called "Mariang Pulis" in the town of Maria in 2019, as well as Agusan del Sur Chief of Police Senior Inspector Charity Galvez who "led her men in repelling" communist rebels who attacked their camp in 2011.
"Through the years, women have held their own in restoring law and order in our communities. This they have done, despite the discrimination and biases against them," Dela Rosa said.
"We can even say... that these female cadets had it harder than everyone else, because the society's standards and expectations were against them," he said.
"Gayunpaman ay pinili nilang magpursigi at ipakita sa buong bansa, sa buong mundo, na sa kabila ng lahat ng hirap, nagawa nila itong mapagtagumpayan. Patunay na ang tawag ng tungkulin at pagsisilbi sa bayan ay walang pinipiling kasarian," he said.
The bill also intends to further increase the recruitment quota of women in the PNP after 5 years.
Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality Risa Hontiveros also backed the proposal, saying having more policewomen also helps female victims of abuse.
"Maraming babae na takot magreport dahil nahihirapan sila na lalaking pulis ang kausap nila. Hopefully this bill will address that gap," Hontiveros said in plenary.
"We have to do more than install gender quotas in our institutions. We have to look at systems that enable the oppression of women & marginalized peoples," she said in a separate tweet.
The PNP is already recruiting more than the require female quota of 10 percent, but having a law in place "bolsters" the active recruitment of women into the police force, Dela Rosa said.
"We still have a long way to go in achieving equality. But of course, any step forward is a step worth taking," he said.