PNP LIFESTYLE CHECK SHOULD FOCUS
ON POOR COPS TO IMPROVE THEIR PLIGHT
Senator Chiz Escudero has put to task the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to look into the prevalence of poverty among the rank-and-file of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to improve their plight, and not just the lifestyle of police officers suspected of amassing unexplained wealth.
At the DILG budget hearing, Escudero, who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance, told officials of the DILG to take a closer look into the lifestyle of the lowest members of the police force so they can take steps on how to improve the lives of the unheralded majority who are genuinely committed to their duties.
“Another important lifestyle check is the one which will not discover unexplained affluence but indescribable poverty among our policemen,” Escudero said. “Kung merong lifestyle check sa mga pulis if they are able to make ends meet, I am sure that many of them will flunk it.”
Escudero cited a 2004 study showing that six in 10 policemen did not own the houses they were living in.
“If we are shocked by reports about policemen owning prime properties, then all the more should we be angered by the fact many police officers rent rooms no bigger than a pig pen,” Escudero said. “Sa bawat isang pulis na maraming bank accounts, meron sigurong isang libong pulis naman na baon sa utang,” he added.
According to Escudero, his committee might be able to find a fiscal space in order to allocate more budget for the police force.
To help the “homeless police,” Escudero said PNP members should be given access to affordable housing loans or be outright beneficiaries of housing projects.
He also recommended a raise in the subsistence allowance of those in actual precinct or patrol duty. An entry level policemen receives a basic pay of P18,549 a month minus taxes and other mandatory deductions.
This year, the PNP has an actual strength of 148,458 uniformed personnel out of the total authorized ceiling of 164,410.
The Senate finance panel has approved the DILG’s proposed 2015 budget amounting to P104.571 billion for the plenary pending submission of other documents.