Senator Gregorio Honasan is making a big fuss at the veto made by President Benigno Aquino of Senate Bill 3217/House Bill 6203 entitled “An Act Repealing the Minimum Height Requirement for Applicants to the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).”
He has the reason to gripe because he sponsored the senate bill, but I guess his bellyaching about it is due more to the fact that, had it been signed into law by the president, he could have used it for his reelection propaganda.
But, just the same he is making a lot of noise about the veto for the same motive – to drum up his reelection bid for the May elections.
I don’t think, however, that Aquino’s veto of the bill was discriminatory or ‘ill-advised’ as alleged by Honasan.
On the contrary, Aquino made a sensible argument in disapproving the bill, than Honasan’s contention that its approval would benefit the country’s citizens.
How could maintaining the height qualification – 1.62 m or 5’4″ for male and 1.57 m or 5’2″ for female – endanger the public in any way, shape and form?
“Public safety and public interest are at stake. Lives are involved here, so we want to increase the police to population ratio,” Honasan said.
I don’t have disagreement with increasing the police to population ratio, but why lower still the height requirement?
What advantages are there in having shorter members of the police force, jail guards and firefighters?
Do we have to agree with Honasan when he said: “For instance, the BFP would need smaller people to go through narrow windows or alleyways so that they could save people or put out fires more quickly. There are also instances when police forces would need men of less height to go through canals or air conditioning ducts as part of intelligence operations.”
What a simplistic reasoning coming from a senator of the realm!
Here, he is sacrificing quality over quantity.
Besides, isn’t 1.62 m or 5’4″ for male and 1.57 m or 5’2″ for female, short enough for Filipinos already?
Lest we forget, present generation of Filipinos – both male and female – are getting taller.
Now, let us see how Aquino analyzed the measure and why he vetoed it.
He said: “While I recognize the noble intent of this measure to address height equality among these bureaus, I am also seriously apprehensive of the concerns propounded by the PNP and BJMP in the safety of their personnel in the performance of their duties, as well as public safety in general.”
“As raised by the BJMP, jail officers, by the nature of their work in guarding detainees or escorting criminals, must possess the necessary physical attributes to perform their functions effectively. Likewise, public safety is paramount in law enforcement by the PNP, as well as in fire-fighting by the BFP.”
Aren’t these more logical arguments?
If public figures, celebrities and the like are employing imposing escorts to keep them from harms way, the more important that we should be hiring and employing people with the ‘intimidating’ height and built for the Filipinos’ public safety, whether on the streets, in jails or in our homes.
Or else you will be seeing plenty of Carabuenas and all other arrogant and abusive characters on the streets.