Height equality in the PNP, BFP and BJMP

By: Atty. Ruphil F. Bañoc August 02,2019 - 07:00 AM


When I read the news that Cebu Third District Congressman Pablo John Garcia refiled a bill that seeks to abolish the height requirement for the PNP,  BFP and BJMP recruits, I remembered the history on the war between the United States of America and Vietnam.

Recently, I happened to visit Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. I personally saw the traces of the war. I also observed the different kinds of equipment used during the war that are preserved in their war museum. 

I visited the Cu Chi tunnels which Vietnamese used as their hiding place under the ground. I observed the small holes that can accommodate the size of a Vietnamese used as entrances that were unnoticeable by the Americans during the war. 

To recall, during the Vietnam War, the Americans wondered why the Vietnamese disappeared quickly without the former knowing where the enemies were going, like water being absorbed in the soil. And when the Americans came to know the reason, they found out that their obstacle was their own height and built.

In comparison, like today, members of the US military were tall and big in built. They were armed with advance war equipment when they were sent to Vietnam. Aside from the many foot soldiers, US also used its air assets during that war. That was their strength. Their weakness was their being unfamiliar with the place or the terrain.  

The Vietnamese, on the other hand, were and still are just like other Asians: small built and short in height. In fact, even children and women were trained to join the war to defend their country.  

Vietnam’s weakness was that its war equipment was inferior compared to its enemies’, especially that Vietnam did not have air assets. Vietnamese used guerilla tactics in that war. Their strength, however, was their being familiar with the terrain and their commitment to serve, fight and die for their country. 

Unlike what we usually see in movies produced by Hollywood, the Vietnamese put up a good fight in that war. In fact, the Americans were the ones who withdrew their forces from Vietnam following the thousands of American lives lost in the war America could not win. 

Obviously, height and built of a person have nothing to do in the war. What is important is the ability and commitment of the people who want to serve for their country.  

With this, I can say that the height requirement for those who want to serve in the PNP, BJMP and BFP is immaterial. Congressman Pablo John Garcia  is correct in refiling House Bill 2242 or the Philippine National police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Height Equality Bill.  

In fact, when Cong. Garcia first filed this bill in 2012, the counterpart bill in the Senate was sponsored by no less than Senator Gringo Honasan who was an experienced military man. Also, Senator Panfilo Lacson supported the bill. 

This means that the two experienced former military men acknowledged that height should not be a requirement in such kind of employment or service. But former President Benigno Aquino vetoed the bill. Hence, Garcia refiled the same hoping that the incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte has a different stand on the matter.

Nevertheless, I think there is still a need to put limitations on the statute. What about the very short people?  

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