Wednesday, April 23, 2014

PNP Reforms (A continuing article). Part 3 – Core Competencies and Specialized Skills

In Part 2 of this continuing article, I discussed rationalization of ranks to make the organization more responsive.  In this installment, I will discuss the indispensable partner of rationalization:  competencies and skills.  Once the rank profile is simplified, it is mandatory that minimum standards be set for every rank.  These standards should be met by all police officers holding that rank and anyone failing it must be dealt with accordingly and if necessary, separated from the service or demoted to the rank where his competencies fit.  The specialized skills on the other hand must be used for positioning purposes.  Specialized skills should be that X-factor that will determine who holds what, especially in the highly specialized positions such as intelligence and investigation. 

Competencies and skills must progress as the rank of a policeman goes higher.  It is expected that higher ranking personnel shall be the role models of lower ranking personnel.  It is therefore also expected that they know everything there is to know in their rank.  Higher ranking personnel must be able to properly and confidently teach and demonstrate to their subordinates these skills and knowledge if the situation calls for it.

So without much further ado, let me start at the bottom of the food chain.

Police Officers – Police officers are the work horses of the PNP.  As the lowest ranking people, they perform the brunt of frontline activities such as patrolling, investigation, civil disturbance management and the likes.  As such, every policeman is a show window of the Philippine National Police, thus they must be an epitome of excellence, knowledge, and professionalism as conceived in the different image and credibility enhancement programs of the PNP.

In a previous article, I mentioned a popular passage that every trainee is required to memorize in recruit training.  It is entitled, "The Good Policeman" and it goes, "The citizen expects policemen to have the wisdom of Solomon, the courage of David, the strength of Samson, the patience of Job, the leadership of Moses, the kindness of the Good Samaritan, the faith of Daniel, the tolerance of the Carpenter of Nazareth, and the intimate knowledge of every branch of the natural, biological, and social sciences.  If he had all these, he ‘might’ be a good policeman."  While this quote may sound exaggerated, a closer look shows that it jibes perfectly with that famous line of Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  Couple this with the lighthearted—but generally true—saying that goes, “Next to God is the policeman,” it is but natural to require that policemen have with them at all times the competencies that shall temper those vast powers that they wield.

To be credible in what he does, a policeman must always project confidence in his competence and abilities—and the only way to be confident is to have an absolute understanding of the job, based on a solid foundation of basic theories and skills.  A clear and solid understanding of the basics cultivates a habit.  Good habits become the foundation of a good perspective.  With a good perspective, a policeman then develops a good personal system that always activates once he suits up to face another day.  A good personal system makes a good policeman.

One of the best indicators of competence of a policeman (and any person in general) is the amount of knowledge he carries with him in his head and the skills he carries in his person.  Knowing basic police knowledge such as procedures, laws, and other miscellaneous items by heart enables a policeman to be always aware of his duties, responsibilities, and most importantly, his limitations.  Moreover, having the skills enables the policeman to confidently discharge his duties and responsibilities based on the knowledge that he has.  Many wrongdoings could be avoided if only policemen are discerning enough to recognize the possible consequences of their actions and the skills to execute what has to be done—and discernment and skills commences in clear understanding of facts.

Let us now examine what current regulations say as qualifications of a PNP applicant.  The qualifications are actually spelled out in the law creating the PNP.  As required by Section 30 of RA 6975 it says that an applicant for PO1 must be:
  1. A citizen of the Philippines;
  2. A person of good moral character;
  3. Must have passed the Physical Agility Test, Neuro-Psychological Examination, General Physical and Dental Examination as well as Drug Test to be administered by the PNP for the purpose of determining physical and mental health;
  4. Must possess a formal baccalaureate degree from a recognized institution of learning;
  5. Must be eligible in accordance with the standards set by NAPOLCOM;
  6. Must have not been dishonorably discharged from military employment or dismissed for cause from any civilian position in the government;
  7. Must have not been convicted by final judgment of an offense or crime involving moral turpitude;
  8. Must be at least one meter and sixty-two centimeters (1.62 m.) in height for male and one meter and fifty-seven centimeters (1.57 m.) for female;
  9. Must not weigh not more or less five kilograms (5 kgs.) than the standard weight corresponding to his or her height, age, and sex; and
  10. Must not be less than twenty-one (21) nor more than thirty (30) years of age upon take oath
Here is one caveat:  Section 30 of RA 6975 was amended by Section 1 of RA 9708 which added a very crucial phrase:

Except for the last qualification, the above-enumerated qualifications shall be continuing in character and an absence of any one of them at any given time shall be a ground for separation or retirement from the service: Provided, that PNP members who are already in the service upon the effectively of RA 8551 shall be given at least two (2) years to obtain the minimum education qualification and one (1) year to satisfy the weight requirement.

Item 9 is very clear.  There is a weight requirement for all policemen. The average height of policemen is around 5’7”.  According to the most popular sources, the standard weight of this height is 60 to 74 kgs.  Viola!  It is very simple to attrite overweight policemen.
Once these applicants become full-fledged members of the PNP as Police Officers, at the very minimum, they must have the basic skills.  They must know how to:
  1. Patrol and make a coherent report about their patrol activities
  2. Use their firearms safely and accurately in accordance to PNP Standards
  3. Investigate properly in accordance to the PNP Investigation Manual of the DIDM
  4. Direct traffic properly
  5. Keep themselves physically fit and pass the periodic Physical Fitness Test
Senior Police Officer – An SPO is expected to posses all the PO competencies and skills and must be able to guide the POs under his care in polishing their skills.  While he is not expected to teach and demonstrate these skills to his subordinates, he is expected to guide them in acquiring the correct reference materials and resource persons for their self improvement.  He must also be able to act as a good role model of the POs in the field.  He knows how to supervise and conduct on-the-spot corrections as necessary.

Inspector – An Inspector is also expected to possess all the SPO and PO competencies and skills.  They are the frontline supervisors who directly come in contact with the populace thus it is expected that inspectors are exceptionally skilled policemen.  Most importantly, his skills must be at DEMONSTRATION QUALITY that he can confidently teach and demonstrate these skills to the POs and SPOs as necessary.  As such, he must be able to act as instructor in regular Saturday PI and Es and career courses.  In short, he can act as instructor in basic training anytime.

At this juncture of the their career, Inspectors must experience being a witness in court.  Simple as may seem, this requirement will force the officers to 
Simple no? But you will be surprised if I tell you that MAJORITY OF THE PNP PCOs AND MANY PNCOs RETIRE FROM THE SERVICE AFTER 35 YEARS OF DUTY WITHOUT EVER SITTING IN THE WITNESS STAND!  Try it yourself:  ask a group of 10 policemen how many of them experienced being a witness and I will tell you that you yourself will be surprised by the results!  I believe that experience is the best teacher but many policemen had been evading her classes!  The sad part of this picture is that many of these evaders are the ones who get ahead because they are inside the kitchen--aide de camps, finance and budget officers, logistics officers, administrative officers, etc.  These are the people who are in the airconditioned rooms and when the time comes for them to become commanders like chiefs of police, provincial directors, and regional directors, they bluff their way through their job.  Kawawa naman ang PNP sa ganitong sistema.  Look at the good commanders and the mediocre ones.  You will almost inevitably see the difference in their backgrounds, especially the staff assignments that they held before they became commanders.

Superintendent – A Superintendent is expected to possess all the competencies of the Inspector, SPO, and PO.  In addition, he is expected to have the skills to “train the trainors.”  His skills and knowledge are in such level that he can teach the Inspectors how to effectively teach their subordinates.  In short, he can act as an instructor in a trainor’s training or act as course director and ensure that current knowledge and skills are effectively passed to younger generations and kept up to date in this evolving operational environment.

At this juncture of their career, Superintendents need an indispensable skill in this fast advancing digital age:  above average computer skills.  As mid-level managers, Superintendents is the bridge between the policy makers and the ground level implementers and frontline personnel.  Most of the time, they need to localize national policies to be responsive to their operational environment.  Likewise, they also need to interface with other stakeholders such as local government officials, the media, lobby groups, and what have you.  To be effective in this job, they need a vast amount of data to ensure that they are updated with the latest developments both locally, nationally, and internationally.  Especially during media appearances such as field interviews, Superintendents must be articulate enough to ensure that they are effective mouthpieces of the organization.  And rarely one can be articulate if he is just bluffing his way.  One of the best way to be updated is regular access to the biggest library in the world today—the internet.

Superintendents, especially those designated as Chiefs of Police, Provincial or Regional Directors, also need to periodically present data and reports to various stakeholders.  Most commonly, this is done with a Powerpoint presentation as visual aid.  It is therefore mandatory for the Superintendents to be well versed with this software.  As I personally observe now, not a few Superintendents are actually REFUSING to learn this software because of two very common reasons:

1.    There are PNCOs that can make the presentation for them;
2.    They are afraid that if they get so good in Powerpoint, other senior officers will take advantage of them and they will be asked again and again to make their presentations for them.

Both reasons I find unacceptable in so many ways.

The first reason is pure katamaran.  I would love to retort, “then let us designate that PNCO as the Chief of Police” because as officers, if you cannot make your own presentation, you better stick to jobs that will not require you to make your presentations—like being a patrol team leader.  Some will say that the COPs have so many other things to do and making their own presentation will eat up a lot of their time.  This is bullshit because I have been there and have done that.  Having a PNCO to draft the presentation may be acceptable but to make him do everything especially the assessment, recommendations, and strategic directions, that is pure indolence.  Moreover, having so many PNCOs doing administrative work adversely impacts on police visibility in the streets.

The second reason is indolence at its worst.  Officers refusing to learn something new because they do not want more responsibilities is the main reason why the PNP stagnated to the level it is in now.  But these same officers are crowding each other to be field commanders.  When they are commanders, what are they going to do?  Be indolent too of course!

Director – Actually I believe that bahala na si Magellan na pumili ng mga Directors from the ranks of the Superintendents.  At this level, policies are made and we cannot take that away from our elected officials, thus, it has to be emphasized that the thinking of the Directors must be in sync with the civil policy makers.  This is where the career of policemen as a professional officer ends and his career as a political animal starts.  If he does not want to be in this position, then he can remain in the Superintendent ranks and occupy positions available for him.

Anyway, I believe that with a solid foundation at the base and middle level supervisors, incompetent top leaders can do little to sabotage the over all operation of the organization.


  1. sir regarding po sa article na to wherein you specified the needed skills and level of competencies in every rank sa new ranking system (PO, SPO, INSP, SUPT, DIR) na ini-envision nyo ibig sabihin ba nito mas effective or mas advantageous sa police organization na vertical entry lang dapat pagdating sa commissioned officer ranks? so is it really necessary for the pnp to have an institution like the pnpa which is its premier source of lateral entrants? thanks po.

    1. salamat sa comment. dapat naman talaga vertical entry ang promotion sa pnpa. pero dapat may pnpa pa rin PERO the cadets must come from the pnco ranks...

  2. The Lady from the NorthSunday, April 10, 2016 9:12:00 PM

    Thank you for directing me to this link, Sir. What you listed are logical though a bit technical for a pedestrian like me. I wish you success, Sir.
    I have a beef though about the Good Policeman mantra that the recruits are asked to memorize. It does exclude recruits who are not Catholic/Christians. Can we have a more encompassing definition of a Good Policeman when you are Chief PNP, Sir?

    1. Me? Chief PNP? Low chance of being one, just like *** ***** being president! Hahahaha!

  3. The Lady from the NorthSunday, April 10, 2016 9:41:00 PM

    Chief PNP - I took that from one of your blogs, Sir.
    President - someone once told me about something he thinks was impossible. Look at him now. He's now in and out. So even things with low chances of happening can happen.

    1. The Lady from the NorthSunday, April 10, 2016 9:59:00 PM

      Yes, he's now in and out of this very exclusive restaurant. It is really difficult to get in that place.

    2. Restaurant as in a place where you eat? Hahahaha!


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