‘Tarung’ PNP reform project launched

Archie Francisco F. Gamboa

PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa yesterday said they have crafted the PNP Project “Tarung,” a Visayan word which means “to behave,” as part of their continuing effort to address corruption and incompetency in the police force.

The PNP chief made the disclosure as the PNP took the bold and unprecedented step of partnering with the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG) to empirically examine the possible root of governance failures in the PNP’s ranks.

In search of a clear answer to the seemingly perennial problem of low public perception of the PNP, the police top brass gave the ASoG unprecedented access and cooperation to undertake research on police performance.

Specifically, the research diagnosed what factors both build and erode leadership and performance within the ranks, especially among younger officers.

“Police scalawags, ninja cops or protectors have always been the public perception among police officers despite significant gains of the PNP against criminalities, illegal drugs and other lawless activities. It’s time to say enough,” Gen. Gamboa said.

“The public must know the relentless effort of the PNP leadership in cleansing its ranks to gain higher level of confidence by the people. We fully understand that public support for the police is important for successful policing. Not only is public support fundamental to the legitimacy of the police, but it is also important for enlisting the public in efforts to reduce crime,” he added.

 The PNP chief also lamented that although some people show support to the PNP and are satisfied with the way police perform their duties, still the majority of the population reflects that not all segments of society have positive opinions of the police.

“The question, why is the confidence level of people low? that is continuously hounding the PNP made us humbly seek the help of the experts from the academe to properly diagnose the dysfunctions and other key factors contributing to the problems of the PNP. Thus, we commissioned the Ateneo School of Government to conduct a research study to map out some of the main factors that both build or erode key leadership qualities and performance in the PNP,” he said.

According to Gen. Gamboa, the following key recommendations were made as a result of the ASoG study: Revisit organizational culture to be more pragmatic and responsive; effectively cascade the positive organizational culture through change management; strengthen and elevate good subcultures through effective oversight on leadership and mentoring; adopt strategic human resources policy such as development of an evidence-based competency framework and creation of an academic consortium to study and improve recruitment; and last but not the least,  create a central data on monitoring and informing leadership and development policies.

“The said study will be a useful tool for us to identify the priority actions required to address the stigma of lower public perception to police officers. Moving forward, we will continue to transform the whole PNP targeting the Mind, Body and Spirit not just of the individuals but in the perspective of organizational change,” he said.

The PNP chief assured the public of a consistent implementation of the PNP internal cleansing program to ensure that poor performing officers are culled out of their system together with sanctions for repeated misdemeanors.

“Through the Internal cleansing program, we hope to address the negative view of the public and to finally elevate our service reputation,” he explained.

“We are also serious to our Revitalized Physical Conditioning and Combat sports program to achieve a normal body mass index (BMI) as we recognize that we should look respectable in our uniform not just to show our competence and capability but also in terms of physical appearance.  

These efforts will not be possible without the help of the people and the media as well. Opinions of the police are positive and quite stable overtime—at least in the absence of significant shifts in police policy or media scandals. In our effort to overcome issues of corruption and other negative views in the PNP, we will improve more the quality of police-public interactions to gain public confidence and trust. Under my leadership we will write a new story that optimistically will reflect and shape to an effective, action-driven and motivated PNP,” Gen. Gamboa said.