Transforming Public Safety Services Through Quality Education and Training

Close to three decades ago, policemen were hired purely on the basis of personal relations with influential personalities and government officials. City and municipal policemen were after being hired, sworn in, and issued weapons. Despite their lack of knowledge on the police system, they were given the responsibility of safeguarding and protecting the community.

The police organization then had no code of conduct. The police service then required neither entry standards nor appropriate training, and had no consistent promotional polices. However, substantial improvements were achieved with the passage of Republic Act 4864 on September 6, 1966, known as the “Police Act of 1966”. That law provided for the establishment of the Police Commission and was renamed National Police Commission under the Office of the President of the Philippines.

Among the powers, duties and responsibilities of the National Police Commission were to advise the President on all matters involving local police administration, examine and audit the performance, activities and facilities of all local police agencies throughout the country, promulgate a police manual prescribing rules and regulations for the efficient organization, administration, and operation of the local police, including their recruitment, selection and promotion, organize and develop police training programs and operate police training centers, and establish a system of Uniform Crime Reporting.

Upon approval of this Police Act, appointment to a local police agency was made by the mayor from the list of eligibles certified by the Civil Service Commission, provided that all appointments were on probationary basis for a period of six months. After that an evaluation and recommendation report for retention or termination by the Chief of Police was required prior to the expiration of the probationary period.

The set up was not without its concomitant pitfalls. Training was limited to police service personnel only. Moreover, the system itself lent to locally based, individualized and separate local police units that led to the marked preponderance of political influence and interference over the police forces. Mainly for these reasons, the government opted to integrate all city and municipal police, fire and jail services into a unified organization.

A series of police integration laws culminated on August 8, 1975 in the promulgation of Presidential Decree (PD) 765 constituting the Integrated National Police or INP. It provided for the integration of all city and municipal police and fire departments and jails into the Integrated National Police (INP). These integrated forces were placed under the operational control of the Philippine Constabulary.

The Integrated National Police was therefore established and made responsible for public safety, protection of lives and properties, enforcement of laws and maintenance of peace and order within the territorial limits of the Philippines. It had the power to prevent crimes, effect and arrest of criminal offenders and provide for their detention and rehabilitation. It took necessary measures to prevent and control fires, investigate the commission of all crimes and offenses and bring the offenders to justice, all the while to take every necessary step to insure public safety.

The Philippine Constabulary, as a major service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines with law enforcement functions, served as nucleus of the Integrated National Police.

The power of the administrative supervision and control by the city and municipal governments over their respective local police, jail and fire department was transferred to the Chief of Constabulary as Director-General of the Integrated National Police.

The powers and functions of the National Police Commission in the training of policemen was the establishment of the integrated police communication system, the grant of police salary subsidy, and the adjudication and grant of compensation for temporary disability benefits, were transferred to the Integrated National Police, including all appropriate personnel and staff, records and equipment and other resources appertaining thereto, except for the powers and functions vested in and exercised by the National Police Commission.

The National Police Commission’s power and functions were the attestation of appointments, examination, investigation, adjudication and review of police administrative disciplinary cases, adjudication and grant of compensation for permanent disability and death benefits, staff inspection and audit, extended to the police fire, and jail components of the Integrated National Police.

Thus, the police, fire and jail services were unified into a single organization and the responsibility of training INP personnel was transferred from the National Police Commission on July 1, 1976 to the Integrated National Police Training Command including the 13 regional training centers throughout the country as mandated by Presidential decree (PD) 765.

Presidential Decree (PD) 765 was only a beginning. On August 26, 1977, PD 1184 otherwise known as the “INP Personnel Professionalization Law of 1977”, proposed for the creation of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA). Immediately after the promulgation of PD 1184, the then chief of Constabulary and concurrently Director General of the Integrated National Police, Major General Fidel V. Ramos created a study committee to prepare the corresponding feasibility study and all other prerequisites for the activation of the envisioned PNPA based on PD 1184.

Section 19 of said decree provided that “there shall be established in the Integrated National Police a premiere police service training institution to be known as the Philippine National Police Academy for the education and training of the members of the INP.”

In February 1978, General Ramos recommended to Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, then Minister of National Defense, the activation of the Philippine National Police Academy. As a result of the recommendation, Ministry of National Defense (MND) Order No. 83 was issued on May 25, 1978 activating the Philippine National Police Academy effective June 12, 1978 in line with the national objective to upgrade the law enforcement service in the country.

Pursuant to said Ministry of National Defense (MND) Order, General Orders No. 23-P Headquarters Philippine Constabulary / Integrated National Police dated 23 June 1978 formally announced the activation of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA). The speed that characterized the creation and establishment of Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) was a clear indication of the important role of the institution in the professional development of police officers in the country. In fact, its actual operations began even before its formal inauguration. It conducted entrance examinations fro cadetship on May 28 and June 4, 1978 to select the best applicants for its first batch of cadets.

When the formal inauguration took place in June 30, 2978, the cadets had to share quarters with the INP Training Command at Fort Bonifacio for more than two months before it moved to Camp Vicente Lim in Calamba, Laguna as its training venue on August 19, 1978. The apparent infancy of the Academy presented such as lack of formal organization, staffing and a training site. This was, however, resolved by having the Integrated National Police Training Command Headquarters at Fort Bonifacio serve as surrogate organization of the Academy.

Simultaneously with the formal establishment of the Academy, the first batch of police cadets was chosen after a rigorous and painstaking selection process – including thorough medical and psychiatric examinations that took place on June 30, 1978. Formal academic instructions started in July 17, 1978 with 50 cadets, in formal ceremonies at Fort Bonifacio in the present Philippine Public Safety College grounds. Two years later, 45 of them finally graduated to compose the first Bachelor of Science in Public Safety (BSPS) graduates – the Maharlika Class of 1980.

During its initial years of existence, the Academy limited the admission of its student-cadets to the two-year Bachelor of Science in Public Safety (BSPS) for qualified members of the Integrated National Police (INP) only. This meant that applicants outside the Integrated National Police (INP) services were not accepted in the cadetship program.

When the Philippine National Police Academy was about to complete its third year of existence, the Academy modified its admission requirements to include civilian applicants.

On January 15, 1981, less than three years after its establishment, the Academy was granted its Academic Charter through the promulgation of Presidential Decree 1780, otherwise known as the “The Philippine National Police Academy Charter of 1981.” This decree elevated the Academy to the status as the premiere educational and training institution of the country’s national police force.

Thus, the Philippine National Police Academy was specifically tasked “to develop and conduct comprehensive education and training programs with the view of Professionalizing the personnel in every level of command of the Integrated National Police.”

The 1978 Bachelor of Science in Public Safety (BSPS) curriculum underwent curriculum and training revisions and modifications which brought about the transition from two years to a three-year curriculum, giving emphasis on the separate specialized areas for cadets who would opt for either the police, fire and jail bureaus. Finally, on April 13, 1995, Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) found its new and permanent home when it moved to Camp General Mariano N Castañeda at Silang, Cavite.

With the passage of Republic Act 6975, otherwise known as the “Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990”, the Philippine National Police, the Fire and Jail Bureaus and the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) were created. The Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) became a primary component of the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC), the institution which was mandated as the premier institution for the training, human resource development and continuing education of all police, fire and jail personnel.

It was in January 1997, under the leadership of Police Chief Superintendent Rufino G. Ibay, Jr. that the proposal to revise the Bachelor of Science in Public Safety (BSPS) course into a four-year program was favorably endorsed by then Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) President Guillermo P. Enriquez, Jr. that led to its eventual approval by the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) Board of Trustees which is composed of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary as Chairman, the head of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) as members, and the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) President as ex-officio member.

Since the Academy moved to Camp General Mariano N Castañeda, Silang, Cavite in 1994 as its new and permanent home, its facilities have been continuously upgraded to make the Academy conducive for learning.

Today, the Academy stands at the apex of transformation for the human development of the country’s public safety officers as it goes beyond the realm of its vision and mission. The Academy continuously takes the lead in transforming the Cadet Corps towards its pledge. “TO LEARN TODAY, TO LEAD TOMORROW,” and to live by the Cadet virtues of HONOR, DISCIPLINE and EXCELLENCE.

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