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Give IPs fair chance to be part of PNP, AFP: Tolentino

February 13, 2020 - Thursday 9:02 PM by PNA

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MANILA -- Senator Francis Tolentino on Wednesday urged concerned government agencies to give Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs)/Indigenous Peoples (IPs) fair chance to get hired and be a part of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“The members of the ICCs/IPs are overlooked and sometimes discriminated upon, and not given the chance to serve, protect and defend the country simply because of their culture. It is the expressed policy of the State to promote the rights of ICCs/IPs in formulating policies for the development of the nation,” Tolentino said during the hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs.

“It is high-time to recognize and give the IPs a fair chance to work for the country,” he added.

Tolentino made the call as the Senate panel tackled the proposed bills seeking to repeal the height requirements for applicants to the PNP, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP); and to increase the quota requirement for female PNP officers.

The committee also discussed a Senate resolution on the status of the PNP regular recruitment program.

He cited Senate Bill 405, otherwise known as the “Katutubong Tagapagtanggol Act of 2019,” which he filed "in response to the existing and continuing discrimination against IPs due to their culture and certain physical factors."

SB 405 aims to accommodate ICC/IP members by providing a proportionate recruitment share specially allocated for them in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA).

Under the proposed measure, the PMA and the PNPA are mandated to admit and enlist members of ICCs/IPs into their academic program. At least 10 percent of the new cadets shall belong to ICCs/IPs.

“The bill aims to exempt IPs from height, body mass index and general point average as part of the admission requirements. Tattoos, piercing and physical deformities as disqualifications will be waived as well, provided that the features were brought about by their culture, customs and traditions,” Tolentino said.

The bill also gives protection to IPs from any forms of discrimination or slurs, with dismissal from the service being the highest form of penalty to violators.

Under SB 405, any person, public official or employee who discriminates, in any manner, members of the ICCs/IPs, by reason of their membership in the ICCs/IPs, shall immediately be subjected to the proper disciplinary action or proceedings of the service.

Willful failure, refusal or negligence by the disciplining authority in the initiation, investigation and disposal of disciplinary proceedings due to violations of this Act shall be a cause for dismissal from the service of the disciplining authority.

“The culture must be celebrated, brought into the light and integrated into society for it is something that brings honor and pride to the country,” Tolentino said. (PNA)