Toward realizing ‘the police are the public and the public are the police’ in the Philippines Part II

There is something wrong about the Philippine National Police (PNP being under the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). It should be an independent agency, with its own budget, strategy, etc.

The effect, a negative one, of the PNP being under DILG is that, in localities, Local Chief Executives, at least those who think they are entitled to it, make personal armies out of the local police force. Technically, with this set up, there is nothing wrong with having the police force as personal armies of LCEs and paid by the LGUs. Because structure-wise the police is under them. The police man or woman who refuses can actually be slapped with insubordination!

Another negative effect is that because the PNP has to share in the DILG budget the address of the needs of the force is subjected to “political will” and has to vie with others in the DILG for a share in the pie. If “political will” of a given time isn’t keen on national and local security (because anyway there’s the military), poor police – “may baril walang bala” – who are witless against the more equipped criminals. In this case, I don’t blame them if they’d rather not show up in the middle of a crime. I mean, the best policy in this case is “secure yourself first because two dead is worse than one.” With “political will” in disfavor of the upgrade of the force, it follows that its administrative costs will get the least share of the pie. Therefore, what irony, in order to survive, the police – at least for some – turn criminals and so become part of the complex phenomenon of crime! The worst thing is the community points all its 10 fingers to these erring police. Such abrasive regard is derived from the community’s view that the police force is Superman and his wonder friends combined; that the force can do magic in the absence of upgrade in knowledge and skills and without basic equipment. It’s like PAGASA and its weather stations and human resource. They can only effectively and efficiently “predict” the weather to the extent that their knowledge and skills and equipment help them do that. Try as they could with their bare minds and hands, they’re not the wizard Merlin predicting the rise and fall of Arthur.

On the whole, these things make the nation less secure.

The military secures the nation from external forces while the police secures the nation from internal disorder and lawlessness. The police cannot do its job independently and well when it’s role is jeopardized by the inconstancy of politics. The PNP should be separated from the DILG and installed as an independent entity or some other better arrangement. Besides, I’m sure that taxpayers would want that the police force take on the security of the community and so work alongside its members, not just the security of a privileged few. Hence, the police are the public and the public are the police. National government is currently on the drive toward reforms and this should be part of that agenda.


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