Filipinos stand to benefit twofold from a new law authored by Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson that provides for rank classification in the Philippine National Police.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11200, which standardizes the way PNP officers are called, into law last Feb. 8.
“This measure eliminates confusion on how our law enforcers must be addressed, and brings our policemen closer to the populace. More importantly, this allows for better coordination between the PNP and other law enforcement units in countering terrorism and other threats to national security,” said Lacson, who headed the PNP from 1999 to 2001.
Under the new law, the PNP’s rank classification system will be distinct from that of the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, with ranks used in addressing PNP personnel preceded by the word “Police.” The PNP rank classification shall be as follows:
* Director-General to Police General
* Deputy Director-General to Police Lieutenant General
* Director to Police Major General
* Chief Superintendent to Police Brigadier General
* Senior Superintendent to Police Colonel
* Superintendent to Police Lieutenant Colonel
* Chief Inspector to Police Major
* Senior Inspector to Police Captain
* Inspector to Police Lieutenant
* SPO4 to Police Executive Master Sergeant
* SPO3 to Police Chief Master Sergeant
* SPO2 to Police Senior Master Sergeant
* SPO1 to Police Master Sergeant
* PO3 to Police Staff Sergeant
* PO2 to Police Corporal
* PO1 to Patrolman/Patrolwoman
Lacson said the rank classification system should remove confusion on how to address police officers, noting that people still tend to address them by their military rank assignments.
“It has been nearly 30 years since the passage of Republic Act 6975, yet almost everyone has been more accustomed to the rank classification using military terminologies but are aware that they are referring to the police and not the military,” he said.
Also, Lacson said similar ranks between the PNP and counterpart members of the AFP will enhance their interoperability.
He cited experiences of policemen and soldiers showing “unnecessary lags” occur when they have to check who are their counterparts.
The new rank classification will also spare policemen of having to explain their equivalent ranks to foreign police forces during regional or international policing engagements.
“We cannot afford any delay in coordination in counter-terrorism operations and operations against other threats to national security,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lacson stressed the new rank classification will not militarize the PNP, which will retain its civilian character.
“The Philippine National Police shall continue to adopt a service-oriented outlook in consonance with its existing police-community relations doctrine consistent with its sworn duty ‘To Serve and Protect,’” he said.