Tuesday, April 22, 2014

PNP Reforms (A continuing article). Part 2 – Rationalization of the Rank System

The second thing that I will do is a little bit more complicated.  I will move for the amendment of the enabling law and simplify the ranking system of the PNP.  History shows that the PNP was created under the DILG and removed from the AFP where its forerunner, the Philippine Constabulary was a part of.  Among the reasons given was to “civilianize” the organization and remove its military roots.  But as it stands now, only the name appears to have changed and many others remained the same.  Among the best examples of this is the rank system.  Except for the 1st and 2nd Lieutenants which is equivalent to Inspector, all ranks in the AFP have exact equivalents in the PNP, including the insignia (except for the design of course).  This may have worked for the AFP where the hierarchical structure is rigid and seniority is almost always observed considering that in times of battle, clear and well defined command lines is a premium.  But I seriously doubt if it is actually suited for the PNP because the PNP is a very dynamic and multifaceted organization.  It is battling not only on one front at any given time but rather, it is in almost all facets of government peace and order operations all at the same time.  Even in non-peace and order concerns, the PNP has a habit dipping its fingers in (not that it lacks responsibilities but rather, so many PNP leaders past and present had acquired that taste of doing their job in front of the camera rather than in the background.  So before, the PNP is mostly in patrol, investigation, traffic, and community relations, the PNP now does tree planting as an organizational obligation and search and rescue as its primary role during calamities instead of focusing on its main job of maintaining peace and order.  (I will write about this later).

Back to the ranks.  The current rank system is not working both in the officer and non-officers ranks because there are just too many ranks.  In the non-officer ranks, there is the PO1 to PO3 and the SPO1 to SPO4.  For the officers, there are 9 ranks from Inspector to Director General reserved for the Chief PNP.  In the PNP today, officers get promoted to the next higher rank once he applies for it, he meets the eligibility requirements, and he is holding a T.O. position. (not a few will say that you also need a political patron to be promoted).  The last requirement, the T.O. is actually of recent origins and is designed to control promotions of officers because the organization is becoming top-heavy.  This is actually a tacit recognition that there is a problem in the rank profile of the organization.  But the solution is a square peg for a round hole.  This requirement did not prevent the Supt and Sr Supt ranks from swelling.  If you ask the griping PNPAs, you will even hear grievances like “para sa PNPA lang yan.  Pag PMA, mapopromote yan kahit walang T.O” or “gagawa sila ng T.O. para sa bata nila at pagkatapos magamit ay hindi na pupwede”.  But that is not my focus here.  I will discuss that in another article.

The T.O. requirement opened the system wherein officers occupy an “entry level” position (usually a rotting staff or deputy position) to get the rank.  After promotion, he then leaves the position and occupies an exclusive position (usually a perky command).  Now the problem starts when these officers occupying the exclusive positions are relieved.  These positions are finite in number and the number of qualified officers continue to swell until it exceeds those available positions, thus what happens?  Senior officers are placed in "floating" status with no clear job description, but all the while receiving full pay and allowances.  If this is not a waste of government resources, I do not know what it is.  This list of floating people includes Chief Superintendents despite the creation of the DIPOs, which is yet another square peg in another round hole, and the adjustment of positions so that the rank requirements are increased.  The last one is especially crazy.  The move to increase the rank of DRDAs into Chief Superintendents created the now familiar sight of having two star-ranked officers in a very small conference room regularly talking about trivial matters that even field grade officers of the past can decide upon.  It cheapened the value of the rank.

So what do I exactly propose?  Simplify the Ranks of the PNP.  PO1 to PO3 should be simply bunched into Police Officers, SPO1 to SPO4 as Senior Police Officers, Inspector to Chief Inspector as Inspectors, and Superintendent to Chief Superintendent as Superintendents.  At the Director level, “Bahala na si Magellan” because this is the policy making level reserved for the politician-turned policeman.  For the officer ranks in general, this will be very beneficial, although the tamad and malalaking ulong senior officers will object to this.  This is because in this system, Superintendents can occupy positions from Chief of Police of Class D municipalities up to Directors of a Regional Office.  This way, the PNP can get rid of floating officers without stepping on their pride.  Actually, I have known fine officers who were very competent in ground level operations, leading a unit of 50 personnel.  However, the organization promoted them to higher positions because of their seniority.  Alas in the end, they were promoted to a level where they proved to be incompetent, well, because of a variety of factors, not the least of which is their inherent capacities and native talents and interests.  Had they not been promoted, they could have continued to productively serve the PNP as middle level supervisors.  But in the current system, a Senior Superintendent cannot be a Chief of Police of a component city anymore.  A Chief Superintendent cannot be Provincial Director anymore.  And I have seen Senior Superintendents who would have been happier as chiefs of police and Chief Superintendents who are best suited for provincial commands.  If these officers were given the positions suited for them without affecting their pride and morale, they can still be productive members of the organization.  But the current system prevents this positioning, thus many of these senior officers are instead in floating status because there are no more positions for them to assume.

This system, coupled with the core competencies and the specialized skills that I will discuss in Part 3 of this series, will highlight capabilities and experience in promotion and positioning.

This will also lessen the talk about crispy patas and the fried chickens.

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