Scrap height requirement for cops, firemen, jail guards Zubiri

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri has sought to repeal the height requirement for applicants to the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

In his Senate Bill 312, Zubiri said "heightism," or discrimination based on height, has been practiced among law enforcement agencies in the country even to those competent to serve in said agencies but do not meet the said qualifications.

The BFP coined the term "heightism" to refer to law enforcement agencies' preference for taller people.

Zubiri noted that in 2018, the National Police Commission (Napolcom) removed the height requirement for those who would want to take the PNP entrance exam.

"The requirement was scrapped solely for examination purposes and not for police recruitment," Zubiri said.

Napolcom, however, cannot remove the height requirement yet as this is mandated by Republic Act 6975, or the Department of Interior and Local Government Act of 1990, the law that established the PNP.

The height requirement is listed among the "minimum qualifications" for admission in the PNP in Section 30 of RA 6975 - men and women need to be at least 1.62 meters (5'4") and 1.57 meters (5'2") tall, respectively.

The proposal to lower the height requirement was almost achieved in 2013 when members of the Senate and the House of Representatives during the 16th Congress agreed to lower the requirement of uniformed personnel to 1.57 meters for men and 1.42 for women.

Then President Benigno Aquino III, however, vetoed the measure since the PNP can waive it for certain applicants, such as those belonging to the cultural communities, with special qualifications.

Zubiri said that height discrimination unnecessarily limits quality choice and promotes social injustice.

Under SBN 312, the height requirement imposed under Section 30 of RA 6975 as amended by Republic Act 8551 will be immediately repealed.

The height requirement for applicants to the PNP, BFP and BJMP under Sections 15 and 16 of RA 8551 and Section 4 (h) of RA 9263 or the Bureau of Fire Protection and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Professionalization Act of 2004, as amended by RA 9592, "are hereby amended insofar as these provisions refer to any height requirement, to give effect to the mandated repeal of the height requirement..."

"The prejudice against height is counteractive for the benefit of the nation. Those willing to serve should be given the chance to prove whether they indeed possess the necessary physical prowess, intellect, drive and potential for the said positions," Zubiri said.

Source: Senate of the Philippines