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House approves new height requirements for police, fire and jail guard applicants
Philippine Congress - House of Representatives
By Lorelei V. Castillo, MRS-PRIB
The House of Representatives has approved on third reading a bill removing the mandated height requirement for applicants of the police, fire and jail offices.
House Bill 6203 encourages competent applicants hindered by height requirement to enter the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
The bill seeks to amend Section 30 of Republic Act 6975, as amended, or the Department of Interior and Local Government Act of 1990 and Section 4 of Republic Act 9263, as amended, otherwise known as the Bureau of Fire Protection and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Professionalization Act of 2004.
Rep. Pablo John Garcia (3rd District, Cebu), principal author of the measure, said height should not be a restriction for people who want to serve the country as police, fire and jail officers provided they possess other qualifications required in the effective performance of their duties.
Garcia cited Section 1, Article XII of Social Justice and Human Rights in the Philippine Constitution, which mandates Congress "to give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all people to human dignity, reduce social, economic and political inequalities, and remove cultural inequities by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the common good."
Garcia also referred to Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that "All are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and any incitement of such discrimination."
Garcia said given the scope of responsibilities in law enforcement, fire protection and jail management, the PNP, the BFP and the BJMP need more competent members to better serve the growing demands of the public.
"However, this noble intent is impeded by the height requirement that prevents potential candidates from entering the service. If we are to analyze the existing gap between the average height of Filipinos, vis-à-vis the required height for police, fire and jail officers, we can see that a good number of our fellowmen, most especially women, are being denied the opportunity to serve the country," Garcia said.
Under the current law, a male PNP, fire and jail officer has to be at least 1.62 meters (5’3”) tall while a female police, fire and jail officer must be at least 1.57 meters (5'1") tall.
The bill mandates the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM), PNP, BFP and the BJMP to promulgate the necessary rules and regulation for the effective implementation of this Act.
Co-authors of the bill are Reps. Rodolfo Antonino (4th District, Nueva Ecija), Romeo Acop (2nd District, Antipolo City), Mel Senen Sarmiento (1st District, Western Samar), Joseph Emilio Abaya (1st District, Cavite), Tomas Apacible (1st District, Batangas), Leopoldo Bataoil (2nd District, Pangasinan), David Kho (Party-list, Senior Citizens) and Nasser Pangandaman (Party-list, AA-Kasosyo).
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