MANY policewomen in the country have brought or are still bringing inspiring stories to many to demonstrate what women empowerment really means in the 190,000-strong Philippine National Police force.
But although many of them have served as inspiration to their peers and colleagues in the male-dominated police organization, it is more likely that the PNP will still limit its annual 10 percent recruitment quota for female officers as prescribed by Republic Act 8551 or the law that created the national police force, PNP chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde said.
The PNP chief made the clarification amid Surigao del Sur Representative Johnny Pimentel’s statement that the quota for female officers should be doubled to 20 percent so that only policewomen will have custody of children and women in conflict with law.
Gen. Albayalde stressed that the PNP had already surpassed the 10 percent quota as mandated by Section 58 of RA 8551 or the Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998.
“That’s why we want to limit talaga yung ating mga policewomen. Hindi naman natin dini-discriminate yung mga female police, but then marami na rin kasi kaming nakuhang mga policewomen,” the country’s top cop told the Journal Group.
Gen. Albayalde also said most of their policewomen are doing administrative work although some of them are now doing field work, pounding the beat while assigned to different police stations or even to the elite PNP Special Action Force.
Policewomen also usually serve as ‘frontlines’ of civil disturbance management or CDM units assigned to keep peace and order in street demonstrations.
“Sumobra na kami doon sa 10 percent kaya we want to concentrate, we stick to the 10 percent talaga kasi baka sumobra ang dami nila,” the PNP chief said.
Gen. Albayalde also said they are also looking into some restrictions surrounding members of the female officers’ corps particularly now that Congress has approved a 105-day maternity leave for Filipinas.
“Just imagine hindi mo magamit ‘yung pulis for that span of time, pero we follow the 10-percent rule. As of this time it’s more than 10 percent. Umaabot pa nga yata ng 12 kung hindi ako nagkakamali,” he underscored.
At present, the lone one-star female police officer is Chief Superintendent Ma. Antonietta Langcauon. A number of female police officers from the PNP Academy are also currently commanding police stations and provincial and city police offices in Metro Manila and other police regional offices.
Many are also assigned at the PNP Crime Laboratory, the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Intelligence Group, Anti-Illegal Drugs Group and the Highway Patrol Group.
Women power in the police force is particularly being felt in Cebu City where the police director is Senior Superintendent Royina Marzan, a former Davao City police station commander who assumed office as the first female police director of Cebu City last July. Marzan was also the first woman to head the Central Visayas Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
Another is Supt. Olivia Sagaysay, a PNP Academy graduate like Marzan. Sagaysay holds the distinction of heading the male-dominated Manila Police District Traffic Enforcement Unit until she was chosen as one of the 10 Outstanding Policewomen of the Philippines this year by the Zonta Club. Sagaysay was assigned to the elite PNP Special Action Force after graduation from PNPA Class 2001 and later to the MPD where she became the youngest female officer with the rank of chief inspector to assume the post of MPD-TEU chief, a position usually reserved for male superintendents and senior superintendents.
Her stint at the traffic bureau paved the way for her promotion to superintendent and her reassignment to the MPD Station 8, where she led an anti-illegal drug operation at the Islamic Center in Quiapo where eight suspected drug personalities led by a barangay chairman were killed. That bloody operation also led in the discovery of a secret graveyard where bodies of summary execution victims of a drug ring were found.
Sagaysay, also a finalist in the Metrobank Foundation search for Top Ten Outstanding Filipinos last year, is the only policewoman to become a station commander in Metro Manila in recent years.
When the PNP was created in 1991, female personnel were only given assignments that were administrative in nature and jobs that could be classified and described as “desk duties”. The following 28 years, female Filipino police officers have been able to participate in other police activities and functions including risky PNP operations.
They have also become commanders in the field. One of the Filipino policewomen who excelled in the PNP is retired Director Lina Sarmiento. Others gained prominence for their exceptional work as undercover anti-narcotics agents, anti-kidnapping operatives, women and children’s desk officers, station commanders and chiefs of police in the countryside, some of them known to have led their men in actual defense of their station from New People’s Army attackers.