No special promotion for PNP health workers

Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines (Updated Apr. 19, 2021, 9:57 a.m.) — Despite the risks they are facing every day because of the COVID-19 pandemic, medical frontliners of the Philippine National Police (PNP) cannot get a special promotion for their services.

Personnel of the PNP Health Service have been swamped with COVID-19 cases amid a surge in infections since March.

Based on the PNP report released yesterday, there are 2,276 active COVID-19 cases in the police force.

Eighty-seven of the patients are undergoing treatment in hospitals. The others who are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms are recuperating in quarantine facilities.

The PNP said 20 police officers have succumbed to the virus since last month.

Healthcare personnel of the PNP have been working round-the-clock and putting their lives on the line to treat police officers infected with the virus.

They are not qualified for a special promotion based on a police memorandum dated April 5, 2021.

The memorandum, a copy of which was seen by The STAR, acknowledged the sacrifices and selfless acts of PNP medical frontliners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But these efforts could not be considered for a special promotion, the PNP said.

The PNP cited a provision of Memorandum Circular 98-93 of the Napolcom, which states that “special promotion will be extended only to any member of the police for conspicuous acts of courage and gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, but not for administrative accomplishments.”

The functions of the PNP Health Service, according to the memorandum, are considered administrative in nature, which disqualifies its members for a special promotion.

“Health service rendered during the COVID-19 pandemic is not one of the accomplishments being referred in the existing policy,” the memorandum read.

It also cited PNP Memorandum Circular 2009-019, which specifically enumerated the criteria for a police officer to be considered for a special promotion.

These are infiltration of the safehouse of organized crime groups, shootouts against criminals, participation in rescue and disaster operations that resulted in the saving of lives and properties, as well as armed encounters with an overwhelming number of enemies and firepower capability.

A mass nomination for the same accomplishment will not be entertained, the memorandum stated.

Instead of a special promotion, police healthcare workers are given awards and citations.

Sought for comment, Napolcom vice chairman Vitalliano Aguirre II urged the PNP to formally raise the matter to the commission.

“It must be brought to our attention kasi kami ang may administrative control sa kanila,” Aguirre said in a phone interview.

He added medical frontliners may cite examples, which could merit a review for promotion.

“Case to case basis ‘yan, special circumstances,” Aguirre said.

As the Napolcom is a collegial body, Aguirre said the issue would be deliberated by his fellow commissioners.



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