Renewal of PNP's human rights skills pushed-A A +A
Saturday, August 18, 2012
PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Director General Nicanor Bartolome stressed the need for law enforcers to hone their skills and knowledge on human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL).
The police chief said a new version of the PNP guidebook on human rights-based policing (HRBP) will be released soon to aid its personnel in updating their skills on IHL. The guidebook being used presently by the PNP was released on 2009.
"We uphold IHL because we believe that the preservation of human life is our highest goal, and as law enforcers our every action must be in keeping with the law; our every deed must be guided by faith and morality," Bartolome said in a speech during the celebration of the International Humanitarian Law Day on August 12.
Bartolome said the new guidebook will feature more information about IHL and Republic Act 9851, or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity.
"This will make the PNP more responsive to the humanitarian needs of our people" Bartolome said.
Based on the PNP guidebook, HRBP "is the comprehensive, systematic, and institutional compliance with international human rights standards and practices in the conduct of police or law enforcement functions."
The guidebook also said the characteristics of HRBP include strict observance of police policies and procedures, adherence to international human rights standards for law enforcement, professional competence and courteous service, respect for rule of law and civilian supremacy, and pro-democracy and pro-citizen.
On August 16, members of a human rights group claimed they were harassed by four policemen in Cavite province.
The group Karapatan said 28 of its human rights workers were aboard a Manila-bound bus when they were "arbitrarily stopped and held" by four policemen along Tagaytay Road in Silang, in front of the PNP Academy.
The human rights workers were held for half an hour by the policemen who were armed with M-16 rifles, according to Karapatan.
The group also said the policemen were ordered to "investigate and take pictures or video references" of the human rights workers.
A source from the Cavite police told Sun.Star via text message that no report regarding the incident has been received from the subordinate stations.
Last June, the United States Department of State Annual Human Rights Report on the Philippines cited regular accusations of torture, bribery, and other illegal acts allegedly committed by PNP personnel.
"We are not denying that there are some erring police officers accused of unlawful activities, hence, we are not tolerating such illegal actions in this respectable organization," Bartolome said in a statement.
"As what I have said since I assumed this post, discipline will remain a central focus of my leadership," he added.
The report also noted that the PNP maintained a network of 1,744 human rights desk officers at the national, regional, provincial, and municipal levels.
Senior PNP officials appeared receptive to respecting the human rights of detainees but lower-ranking members’ awareness of detainee rights remained inadequate, the report added. (Emmanuel Louis Bacani/Sunnex)