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Thursday, September 03, 2015

To fulfill traffic duty, PNP needs manpower boost —lawmaker

To fulfill traffic duty, PNP needs manpower boost —lawmaker September 3, 2015 12:35pm

Tags: philippinenationalpolice

Since the Philippine National Police will be tasked to direct traffic in Metro Manila, it needs to fill up its vacancies in order to do its job well, a lawmaker said Thursday.

Some 23,820 posts—or one in seven authorized personnel slots—are vacant in the PNP, Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero said in a press statement.

Filling up even a fraction of this number will give the PNP a manpower boost that would allow it to be the lead traffic law enforcer not only in Metro Manila's gridlocked roads, but also in other cities reeling from heavy traffic, he said.

“If the agency can only improve its fill-up rate, imagine how many policemen can be sent out to direct traffic or catch criminals,” Escudero said in his statement.

The senator made the statement following President Benigno Aquino III’s directive on Tuesday to the PNP-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) to manage traffic at six congested junctions of EDSA.

PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez on Wednesday said the PNP is looking forward to implementing its most recent task of restoring order on EDSA.

On Wednesday, Superintendent Oliver Tanseco, spokesperson of the PNP-HPG, said 96 policemen who will be deployed to manage traffic on EDSA will be armed with handguns. He added they will also have anti-crime responsibilities aside from managing traffic.

“If it (PNP) has to take on more roles, then it has to take in more people," Escudero said.

He said even before the President's directive, the PNP‘s manpower was already stretched.

Escudero, former chairman of the Senate finance committee, said the PNP has an authorized troop ceiling of 174,410 this year, of which only 150,590 positions are projected to be filled, leaving 23,820 vacant.

He said the same troop ceiling and fill-up ratio is forecast next year based on the “Staffing Summary for 2016,” one of the budget documents Malacañang sends to Congress every year.

Escudero said the PNP is “low and slow (in) personnel recruitment” despite the creation of more police officers positions.

He said PNP’s total authorized permanent positions in 2014 was 148,409, but only 143,104 were filled.

“On paper the most generous policeman-to-population ratio estimate at present is about 1 for every 674,” he said.

“But the better gauge should be actual duty cop to population: kung ilan talaga ang nasa presinto o nagpapatrolya. Kasi maraming pulis, at any given time, ay off-duty, naka-assign sa headquarters, on leave, nasa schooling, or may administrative duties, or suspendido,” he added.

He said if the PNP would hire more officers, all new recruits should be sent on patrol in order to increase police visibility.

“If 145 people get robbed every day, if 451 people are victimized by thieves every day, if 28 women are sexually assaulted every day, if 27 are killed every day, then it is without question that we should hire more policemen,” Escudero said.

He said, for 2015, the amount for the salaries, allowances and premium contributions, among others, of PNP's active personnel will reach P60.5 billion.

“Ang kailangan (maging) aggressive ang recruitment ng PNP by tapping the social media, kasama ang campus recruitment o hiring caravans, o kaya maglagay ng recruitment kiosks sa malls at mag-offer ng review classes,” he said.

The senator, however, acknowledged that police recruitment is bogged down not by lack of funds but by the low number of qualified applicants.

In the entrance examination for Police Officer 1 candidates conducted last April, only 10 percent, or 1,343 out of 13,334 examinees, passed the test. —KG/RSJ, GMA News
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