Press Release
April 28, 2016

If we can hire 18,000 officials every 3 yrs, why can't we do
the same for cops? - Recto

If the nation will be hiring 18,083 politicos to fill local and national positions in May 9, then why can't it hire the same number of additional policemen to combat the crime surge and stop terrorists dead on their tracks?

This was pointed out by Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto in pressing his call for a massive police recruitment in retaking streets from criminals and defeating the Abu Sayyaf.

"We're spending P6.8 billion to organize an election which is basically a recruitment event for 18,000- plus vacant positions, and yet there seems to be a lack of a national drive to entice qualified young men and women to join the understaffed Philippine National Police (PNP)," Recto said.

For 2016, the Comelec has a budget of P16 billion for voting machines and the holding of two national elections, the second one in October for barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan posts.

Recto cited the case of certain towns which would choose 10 elective officials this May, "when for many of the residents of these places, what they badly want are 10 additional cops."

"I think the national fervor and cost in choosing political applicants should be the same as in hiring key jobs in the community like policemen, doctors, and teachers," he said.

"There's something wrong when we have the funds and the salaries for elective officials when we can hardly afford to fund more local doctors," he lamented.

"At isa pa, kung elective positions may ads ang mga aplikante, pati gobyerno ang daming announcements, pero kung pulis na ang ire-recruit, halos walang abiso mula sa gobyerno," Recto said

While filling 18,083 elective posts every three years is a "national obligation," wiping out the backlog in needed police officers is not.

Recto said there are 23,820 vacant positions in the PNP roster as only 150,590 out of the 174,410 "authorized uniformed personnel positions" are occupied.

If the vacancies are filled and distributed equally among local governments nationwide, each of the 1,489 towns will get an additional 12 policemen, and each of the 145 cites will get 41 more, Recto said.

"This is a rough estimate," Recto said, explaining that there is a formula in assigning policemen. "But just by using the average, it is clear that each town and city will get a tremendous boost in the number of police personnel if the vacancies are filled."

By using the simple formula, Mindanao will get 6,417 additional policemen; Visayas, 6,027 and Luzon, including Metro Manila, 11,369, according to Recto's calculation.

"If sent out to do foot patrol, they can boost police visibility and deter the commission of crimes," Recto said.

"Every day, 28 women or children are raped, 34 hapless Filipinos are killed and 352 others fall victim to robbery. Yet, 23,820 vacant positions for policemen remain unfilled," Recto said.

"Last year, rape cases reported to the police and other law enforcement agencies reached 10,298, up from 9,887 in 2014," the reelectionist senator added.

"There were 128,389 cases of robbery, theft, carnapping and cattle-rustling last year. Or someone loses his bag, or her cellphone, or the family's car or carabao to thieves or robbers every four minutes," Recto said.

On carjacking alone, 12,900 vehicles were stolen last year," Recto said, citing a PNP report.

Recto also scored "the brazenness and the impunity" by which murder is committed nowadays, with cases of murder reaching 9,643 last year. "One murder or homicide is committed every 42 minutes."

"Malaking bagay ang dagdag na pulis," Recto said. "Dahil sa crime wave, lahat ng bayan at siyudad sa Pilipinas, nagrereklamo na kulang sila sa pulis."

Recto said fielding more policemen would require the PNP to step up its recruitment drive and the Department of Budget and Management to speedily approve PNP request for funds for personnel positions.

"In recruiting, government should widen its information drive to reach as many interested applicants as possible. There should be a recruitment roadshow targeting schools. And in order to boost the passing rate in qualifying tests, the PNP may have to offer free review classes to state colleges," he said.

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