Friday, September 28, 2012

House OKs bill removing height requirement for cops, firemen, jail officers

Vertically challenged Filipinos may soon get the chance to be police, fire and jail officers after the House of Representatives passed a bill removing the height requirement for these jobs. The lower chamber approved on third and final reading House Bill 6203 on Thursday night, before the House went a two-week break in preparation for the filing of certificates of candidacy for the 2013 polls. The measure seeks to amend Republic Act 6975, or the Interior and Local Government Act, and Republic Act 9263, or the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Act. Under these laws, police, male police and fire officers are required to be at least 5 feet 4 inches, while female aspirants must be at least 5’2”. Cebu Rep. Pablo John Garcia, the bill’s author, said the proposed legislation seeks “to end decades of discrimination against people on the basis of their height.” “The most important tasks of police, fire and jail officers have no relation whatsoever to height. Our policemen do not have to be all tall. They must simply have skills to investigate and build cases,” Garcia said in a phone interview. He added that the bill, if enacted into law, will also “increase the pool of recruits” for police, fire and jail officers. Garcia likewise said the Philippine National Police and the BFP had already welcomed the passage of the bill during deliberations at the committee level. The Senate version of the bill, filed by Senator Gregorio Honasan II, was approved on third and final reading last August. Since both chambers of Congress have already passed the bill, a bicameral conference committee will now be convened to reconcile the two versions of the measure. Once the bicameral committee approves the bill, it will be returned to the House and Senate for ratification. It will then be submitted to Malacañang for the signature of the President. — Andreo Calonzo/RSJ