Press Release
September 3, 2015


The Philippine National Police (PNP) has 23,820 vacancies, which if filled even by a fraction would give it a manpower boost that would allow it to be the lead traffic law enforcer not only in Metro Manila's gridlocked roads, but also in other cities reeling from heavy traffic.

Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero said one in seven authorized personnel slots in the police force is vacant.

"If the agency can only improve its fill-up rate, imagine how many policemen can be sent out to direct traffic or catch criminals," Escudero said.

He said police recruitment should be more aggressive following President Aquino's directive to the PNP-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) to manage traffic in six-congested junctions of Efipanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), the country's busiest thoroughfare.

Aquino also hinted of expanding the PNP-HPG's mandate to cover the entire the country.

Escudero noted that prior to Aquino's directive, the PNP's manpower was already stretched. "If it has to take on more roles, then it has to take in more people."

According to Escudero, former chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, the PNP has an authorized troop ceiling of 174,410 this year, of which only 150,590 positions are projected to be filled, leaving 23,820 vacant.

The same troop ceiling and fill-up ratio is forecast next year, he said, citing the "Staffing Summary for 2016," one of the budget documents Malacanang sends to Congress every year.

He cited the same document in pointing out the PNP's "low and slow personnel recruitment" despite the creation of more police officers positions.

Escudero disclosed that the PNP's total authorized permanent positions in 2014 was 148,409, but only 143,104 were filled.

He added that "on paper the most generous policeman-to-population ratio estimate at present is about 1 for every 674."

"But the better gauge should be actual duty cop to population: kung ilan talaga ang nasa presinto o nagpapatrolya. Kasi maraming pulis, at any given time, ay off-duty, naka-assign sa headquarters, on leave, nasa schooling, or may administrative duties, or suspendido," the lawmaker said.

He said if the PNP would hire more officers, all new recruits should be sent on patrol in order to increase police visibility. "We need more cops to run after more criminals. And we also need them to fix the mayhem in our streets."

A surge in motor vehicle ownership has led to road congestion not only in the National Capital Region but also in other major cities. Economic losses due to heavy traffic were estimated at P2.4 billion a day nationwide, with Metro Manila accounting for P1.6 billion.

On the crime front, total crime incidents reached 1,161,188 last year, of which 43 percent were index crimes.

"If 145 people get robbed every day, if 451 people are victimized by thieves every day, if 28 women are sexually assaulted every day, if 27 are killed every day, then it is without question that we should hire more policemen," Escudero said.

He, however, acknowledged that police recruitment is bogged down not by lack of funds but by the low number of qualified applicants.

In the entrance examination for candidate Police Officer 1 the PNP conducted last April, only 10 percent, or 1,343 out of 13,334 examinees, passed the test.

"Ang kailangan aggressive ang recruitment ng PNP by tapping the social media, kasama ang campus recruitment o hiring caravans, o kaya maglagay ng recruitment kiosks sa malls at mag-offer ng review classes," he said. "Sayang ang mga bakanteng posisyon. At yan nga pala ay may nakalaang pondo," he said.

For 2015, personal services of the PNP, or the amount for the salaries, allowances and premium contributions, among others, of its active personnel will reach P60.5 billion.

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