WHOM will you choose to be your-next-door policeman?
A: A college graduate who is known as a spoiled brat or toughie in your neighborhood and who belongs to a family with a questionable moral background?
Or B: The son of an ordinary but honest and law-abiding wage earner, say a construction worker, a mechanic, a house painter or a farmer who failed to finish college due to lack of financial resources?
If your answer is B, you’re one of the countless people supporting a proposal that will allow the entry of college undergrads to the Philippine National Police where they will be appointed as Patrol Officers.
The move to allow college undergrads to enter the police force comes in the wake of the ongoing recruitment of 15,000 additional policemen this year. The PNP leadership is not only pushing for a new law that will allow the entry of college undergraduates or those with at least 72 collegiate units into the force but is also batting for the enactment of a law which will lower the age and height requirement for PNP applicants.
In line with its program to produce quality policemen that will beefup the war on drugs and criminality on the streets and terror in the countryside, the PNP has renewed its call on Congress to pass its desired law.
If passed, the PNP leadership said the bill authored by a retired police general, now Pangasinan (2nd District) Representative Leopoldo N. Bataoil, will provide deserving college undergrads the opportunity to join the police force and serve the country.
If allowed entry into PNP, those with a minimum of 72 collegiate units will initially serve as Patrol Officers, a rank lower than Police Officer 1 until they get their college diplomas, officials of the PNP Directorate for Plans headed by Director Edwin C. Roque said.
Under the law that created the PNP in 1991, only college graduates can be allowed to enter the force and be issued a police uniform, badge and a gun. However, officials noted that many college undergrads also deserve to join the police force provided that they cannot be promoted to the next higher rank until they get their college diplomas.
At present, Police Officers 1 receive an average of P16,000 monthly salary which many says, is much more than the starting salary being given to fresh college graduates except call center agents who mostly receive an average of P20,000 to P25,000 a month.
Bataoil, a member of Philippine Military Academy Class 1976 noted that ‘the will to fight, or the lack of it, seems to be attributed to the educational profile of police officers as college graduates with special concern for their future career as professionals.’
Senator Grace Poe also introduced Senate Bill 1239 which fully supports Bataoil’s proposal and said that less than half of all high school graduates finish college and even less earn a baccalaureate degree due to financial constraints. Sen. Poe said her bill seeks to level the playing field for the children of poor families who cannot afford to send them to college by lowering the education requirement for police applicants.