By Vince Angelo C. Ferreras
THE Philippine National Police (PNP) will stick to the 10% rule on the number of women officers in the total police force, despite the call of a lawmaker to double that number.
“Actually, yang 10% sobra pa. Kaya we want to limit, hindi naman dinis-discriminate natin yung police women. But then marami na rin kasi kaming policewomen and they are doing administrative work, sila ang nasa opisina, most of them. Pero marami rin tayong nagagamit sa labas (Actually, that 10% rule is more than enough. That’s why we want to limit, not because we are discriminating our policewomen. But we have many of them now and they are doing administrative work. However, there are also many of them deployed in the field),” PNP Chief, Director-General Oscar D. Albayalde, said at a press briefing on Monday, Nov. 5.
According to Republic Act 8851, the PNP shall prioritize the recruitment and training of women who shall serve in the women’s desk. Pursuant to this requirement, the police shall reserve 10% of its actual recruitment, training, and education quota for women.
On Sunday, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel called for an increase to 20% in the hiring of policewomen. “In other jurisdictions with strong child protection systems, whenever a young girl is taken in for any reason, male officers cannot just put her in a police car. They have to call…a female officer to accompany the child,” he said.
The lawmaker added, “There’s no reason why the PNP cannot do this now. We already have Women and Children Protection Desks headed by female officers in all police stations.”
The PNP Chief, for his part, said, “Marami kasing restrictions sa babae. Kapag nag-asawa siya o nabuntis ‘yan. Lalo ngayon may maternity leave. So imagine, hindi sila magagamit (in) that span of time. Pero we follow the 10% rule, minsan pa nga umaabot tayo ng 12% eh (There are lots of restrictions [when it comes to hiring] women. When they get married or are on the family way. Especially now that there is [an expanded] maternity leave. So imagine, they cannot be tapped for assistance in that span of time. But we follow the 10% rule and sometimes we even reach 12%), ” said Mr. Albayalde.
Jean Enriquez, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, said the current rule is against the provision of the Magna Carta for Women which states there shall be an incremental increase in the recruitment and training of women in the police force, legal services, and social work services availed of by women who are victims of gender-related offenses.
“The objective of that is that women, who were victims of violence and other related offenses, would be able to avail of gender responsive services. Even the 20% is far from the target since the enactment of (the) law,” Ms. Enriquez said in a phone interview with BusinessWorld.
“Ang importante kasi na duty bearers ang officials and rights of women are protected by the state (It is important that our officials are duty bearers and the rights of women are protected by the state),” she added. “The maternity benefits for employees are a duty of the government. If the law requires that, then the government should be the one to first act.”
Mr. Albayalde assured the PNP does not tolerate sexual abuse by its officers towards suspects. “We will never tolerate these things to happen. We want to assure the public on that and we will not show mercy on these kind of acts sa aming mga tauhan (on our people),” he said.
“Pero ito (But this) does not reflect, please lang, this single act (of rape by policemen) does not reflect the general behavior and discipline that we have in the Philippine National Police.”