PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa ordered all police units to enforce stricter regulation on the selling and distribution of police uniforms including patches and seals as these might be used by lawless armed groups in conducting illegal activities.
PNP issued a memorandum circular this month, directing all PNP offices and units to implement stricter measures on the "regulation and control of the use, manufacture, sale, and distribution of PNP owned industrial designs of uniforms and accoutrements".
"The new order reinforces the courses of action that will guide the Task Force 'Bantay-Bihis' and other PNP units in implementing it," Dela Rosa said in a statement.
Dela Rosa further admitted that police insignia are being used by criminals in their activities which tainted the police ranks and the organization as a whole.
"The memorandum also emphasized PNP uniforms with patches and seals are being used by some criminals and other civilians to usurp the authority and to take advantage for their unlawful actions that ravage the image of the police force to gain the trust and confidence of the public," he added.
Under Executive Order (EO) No. 297 signed in 2000, it was issued prohibiting the unauthorized manufacture, sale, distribution and use of uniforms, insignias, and other accoutrements of the Philippine National Police.
The EO reinforced Article 179 of the Revised Penal Code (RA 3815) which penalizes "any person who shall publicly and improperly make use of insignia, uniforms or dress pertaining to an office not held by such person or to a class or persons of which he or she is not a member".
EO 297 also orders the "immediate closure of the establishment, plant or office where the uniforms and other items are illegally manufactured, stored, sold or distributed."
The order was issued to stop the illegal production of substandard and unauthorized uniforms by illegal manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and sellers which is prohibited under Republic Act 8293, otherwise known as Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.
Meanwhile, the PNP Chief also instructed all the cops to wear the prescribed and authorized uniforms at all times while on and off duty.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on September 27, 2017.
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