In his Senate Bill 312, Zubiri said “heightism,” or discrimination based on height, has been practiced among law enforcement agencies in the country, against those competent to serve in the agencies but do not meet height qualifications.
Geremy Pintolo
Bill filed to scrap height requirement for cops, firemen
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - August 6, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri is seeking to repeal the height requirement for applicants of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

In his Senate Bill 312, Zubiri said “heightism,” or discrimination based on height, has been practiced among law enforcement agencies in the country, against those competent to serve in the agencies but do not meet height qualifications.

The BFP coined the term “heightism” to refer to law enforcement agencies’ preference for taller people.

The senator noted that in 2018, the National Police Commission (Napolcom) removed the height requirement for those who would want to take the PNP entrance exam.

“The requirement was scrapped solely for examination purposes and not for police recruitment,” Zubiri said.

Napolcom, however, cannot remove the height requirement yet as this is mandated by Republic Act 6975, or the Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990, the law that established the PNP.

The height requirement is listed among the “minimum qualifications” for admission to the PNP in Section 30 of RA 6975 – men and women need to be at least 1.62 meters (5’4”) and 1.57 meters (5’2”) tall, respectively.

The proposal to lower the height requirement was almost achieved in 2013 when members of the Senate and the House of Representatives during the 16th Congress agreed to lower the requirement of uniformed personnel to 1.57 meters for men and 1.42 for women.

Former president Benigno Aquino III, however, vetoed the measure since the PNP can waive it for certain applicants, such as those belonging to the cultural communities, with special qualifications.

Zubiri said height discrimination unnecessarily limits quality choice and promotes social injustice.

Under the bill, the height requirement imposed under Section 30 of RA 6975 as amended by Republic Act 8551 will be immediately repealed.

The height requirement for applicants to the PNP, BFP and BJMP under Sections 15 and 16 of RA 8551 and Section 4 (h) of RA 9263 or the Bureau of Fire Protection and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Professionalization Act of 2004, as amended by RA 9592, “are hereby amended insofar as these provisions refer to any height requirement, to give effect to the mandated repeal of the height requirement...”

“The prejudice against height is counteractive to the benefit of the nation. Those willing to serve should be given the chance to prove whether they indeed possess the necessary physical prowess, intellect, drive and potential for the said positions,” Zubiri said.

P1-B post-harvest, teaching supplies sought

Meanwhile, Sen. Francis Pangilinan has filed Senate Bill 33 or the Post-harvest Facilities Support Act of 2019, which seeks an initial P1 billion for the construction of one warehouse and rice mill in every rice-producing district in the country in a bid to help farmers cope with the influx of imported rice.

The facilities, as well as the equipment and machinery that government will also be mandated to buy, shall then be sold to accredited farmer cooperatives at cost amortized for 25 years.

Pangilinan said enabling farmers to have their own post-harvest facilities would increase their incomes as these would reduce post-harvest production losses.

“When they have facilities like warehouses, tractors and rice mills, rice wastage is reduced, yield is higher, our farmers’ incomes will increase,” he added.

The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) said a total of 16.47 percent grain losses are incurred post-harvest, with drying and milling having the highest recorded losses with 36 percent and 34 percent, respectively.

After providing for every rice-producing district, the proposed measure mandates the Department of Public Works and Highways, in consultation with the Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform and farmer cooperatives, to build warehouses and rice mills in every rice-producing municipality and city in the Philippines.

It also mandates the Department of Trade and Industry to provide the equipment and machinery required to operate the warehouses and rice mills as well as the necessary transport facilities.

In subsequent years, funding for the program shall be incorporated in the General Appropriations Act. 

Meanwhile, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto is proposing to increase the allowance for teaching supplies from P3,500 to P10,000 per teacher per school year.

Recto said Senate Bill No. 42 seeks to institutionalize the grant of a Teaching Supplies Allowance for the 840,000 public school teachers nationwide and at the same time increase the allowance currently appropriated by the Department of Education (DepEd) by 185 percent, from the current P3,500 to P10,000 per teacher per school year.

He said public school teachers, who receive salaries not commensurate with the volume of their work and responsibilities, have to shell out their own money to buy the materials they use in the classroom. –  With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Louise Maureen Simeon

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