Press Release
June 1, 2020

Sponsorship Speech
Committee Report no. 94

Senate Bill No. 1562

World-renowned feminist Gloria Steinem once said: "Women are always saying, 'we can do anything that men can do.' But men should be saying, 'we can do anything that women can do.'"

In the spirit of these words, Mr. President, I humbly stand before this august body, to sponsor Committee Report No. 94, containing Senate Bill No. 1562, with Senators Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr. and Leila De Lima as co-authors, entitled: AN ACT INCREASING THE RECRUITMENT QUOTA REQUIREMENT OF FEMALE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE (PNP) OFFICERS, AMENDING SECTION 58 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8551, APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

The idea that law enforcement is a task meant for the cold, calculating man is not merely obsolete; it is untrue, Mr. President. In countless times and cases, women have shown the country their kind of bravery. The kind that listens and understands. The kind that steps back from judgment, and moves forward in empathy. Through the years, women have held their own in restoring law and order in our communities. This they have done, despite the discrimination and biases against them.

In July 2011, when communist terrorists from the New People's Army stormed the police station of Trento, Agusan del Sur, Chief of Police, Senior Inspector Charity Galvez, led her men in repelling the attackers. She was then awarded the PNP Medalya ng Katapangan for her bravery in action.

In September 2019, Mr. President, the town of Maria in Siquijor saw the birth of the first all-women police station called Mariang Pulis, under the leadership of Captain Judith Besas as chief of police. As early as January of this year, the National Capital Region Police Office announced that an all-female police precinct was being formed for Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. The said precinct was launched in March, as we ushered in the International Women's Month.

A few weeks ago, Mr. President, nabalitaan natin na ang mga valedictorian ng Masidlawin Class ng Philippine Military Academy, at ng Mandayug Class ng Philippine National Police Academy ay mga babae: sina Cadet First Class Gemalyn Sugui mula sa Isabela at Cadette Lei Anne Banico Palermo mula sa Zamboanga City. And this is not the first time that females have graduated as valedictorians of their class, whether from the PMA or the PNPA. The same holds true in 2019, in 2017, and in other years before.

Hindi madaling makapagtapos mula sa PMA o sa PNPA. We can even say, Mr. President, that these female cadets had it harder than everyone else, because the society's standards and expectations were against them. Gayunpaman ay pinili nilang magpursigi at ipakita sa buong bansa, sa buong mundo, na sa kabila ng lahat ng hirap, nagawa nila itong mapagtagumpayan. Patunay na ang tawag ng tungkulin at pagsisilbi sa bayan ay walang pinipiling kasarian.

The PNP Chief, General Archie Gamboa himself has attested to the capability of women in law enforcement, proving that empowering women is indeed one of the priority programs of the PNP. Despite all these, Mr. President, the numbers tell quite a different story. Under Section 58 of Republic Act 8551, or the Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998, the percentage reserved for women in the annual recruitment in the PNP remains at 10%.

Imagine a hundred police officers. The quota would require that 10 of them should be women. With this analysis, that may sound fair enough. But if we blow up the numbers, say 200,000 police officers, a mere 20,000 positions would be legally mandated as reserved for women.

Allow me to say that again, Mr. President. Out of our imagined 200,000 police officers, the present law reserves a meager 20,000 positions for women. Women who are just as passionate for law and order. Women with notable skills in investigation and crime-solving. Women who are well-equipped to supervise the Women's Desk, and to handle gender-based cases of abuse and violence. Women who certainly deserve more than 10%, Mr. President.

In response to this gap in legislation, Senate Bill No. 1562, contained in this Committee Report, increases the recruitment quota for females in the PNP, from 10% to 15%.

In addition to increasing the recruitment quota from 10% to 15%, Mr. President, the bill also intends, after a five-year period, to further increase the recruitment quota of women in the PNP.

It is the understanding of this Representation, that in practice, the PNP is in fact already recruiting more than the required quota of 10%. However, if this active recruitment of women were bolstered by the amendments put forward by this bill, then the PNP's warm welcome of women into their ranks will now be supported, not just in practice, but also in law.

Mr. President, it is my honor to submit this Committee Report. Admittedly, we still have a long way to go in achieving equality. But of course, any step forward is a step worth taking, especially if it means bringing us closer to our common goal. Closer to that day when men will finally learn to say with pride: we can do the things that women can do. Thank you, Mr. President.

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