MANILA - The Senate on Monday unanimously approved on third and final reading a bill that reduces the minimum height requirement for those who wish to enter the Philippine National Police.
Twenty-three senators agreed to pass Senate Bill No. 1563, which lowers the height requirement to 5 feet and 2 inches for males, and to 5 feet for females who wish to enter the PNP, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), as well as the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Bureau of Correction (BuCor).
"We give more in law to those who have less in height," said Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa, who sponsored and defended the bill in plenary.
"We give an important contribution in addressing the social inequality for those who have not been gifted with towering height," he said, noting that shorter people are "almost always discriminated" in society.
The previous height requirements had to be revised as it "restricts the desire of our countrymen to serve as law enforcers, firemen, jail officers and correction officers," said the senator, who previously headed the PNP and the BuCor.
"The limitation in height will always be compensated by the abundance...in spirit," he said.
"If we continue to allow physical attributes as basis for the entry to government service... are we not shortchanging our people?" he added.
Dela Rosa ended his speech by thanking his colleagues for voting in favor of his bill, saying there is "no tall order that cannot be conquered" by the police force.
Sen. Leila de Lima was the lone senator who was unable to vote on the measure as she remains detained in Camp Crame over her alleged involvement in the drug trade during her watch as Justice secretary. She has repeatedly denied the accusations.
The Senate earlier scrapped proposals to remove the height requirement for police, firemen, and jail guards, saying officers cannot be too short to handle some equipment and perform some tasks.
The House's version of the bill is still pending at the committee level, Dela Rosa told ABS-CBN News in a text message.
"We will make the corresponding liaising with the House of Representatives," he said.