THERE are unexpected site visits that I received from social media and two came from graduates of Criminology courses in Pangasinan asking me for answers that are very important to them because it means career and way of life. After exchanging personal messages, I decided to bring out the gist of their concerns and the following are what I posted in my FB account.

Should we warn student enrollees who are contemplating to become law enforcers re-consider their chosen field because they lack the height requirements prescribed by PNP or AFP? I ask this because in less than a month, two female criminology graduates approached me inquiring if I can help them secure a waiver from NCIP with the contention that they too have relatives who are IPs. Both stands 5’1” but the minimum requirement for a female policewoman is 5”2 and the only recourse that they can think of is to avail an NCIP waiver for indigenous peoples. The second problem is that being millennial, they have adopted the “poblacion or urban culture” of the Filipino youth and that they have not really embraced the customary practices of their forebears.

I started this discussion with the hope that it can shed light to many aspects concerning the height requirements, courses to take up and understanding customary practices and a barrage of replies followed.

Maricar A Docyogen commented: “Dapat lang sir that they are advised of the height requirement. Sayang met ti 4 yrs da when they get disqualified”.

Gail Pimentel Mostrales commented: “There is a height limit for US Army. This is under Army Regulation 600-9. You can read through it along with exemptions. I don't know any country who recruits army or police without any height requirement”. True enough that you don't need to be that tall to pull a trigger but in their kind of job, and as a witness to several training they've undergone, height is such an advantage. Talk about close battle combat and the like. Psychologically speaking, being tall gives an advantage of respect. Have you ever imagined someone in uniform embezzling someone for a violation looking up because the violator is actually taller than him? Being in a uniform is not all about the barrel. Unless we take a look at terrorist who recruits kids as early as 4 years of age.

Common sense is actually common. It’s just how you use it. Similar to the brain where everybody has it but not everybody is using it. That has been proven several times along the runway…as they say, "Kung para sayo, para sayo." My husband is a PNP and I remember during his application, applicants who are short of height are required to sign a height waiver especially if they are members of local tribes. This is to prevent discrimination when entering the said organization let alone, height requirement. Let’s face it. We, igorots for one amongst other tribes, are warriors by blood but not all are not gifted with the height required.. With the question, should we warn them to reconsider? We can say "yes". Anyway, if they are not IPs but were able to obtain such waiver through "connection", malalaman din naman yan sa background investigation. It would now become a question of integrity.”

George Smiley joined the loop and said: “They should be warned. Before you embark on four years of study for a career you should research it and see if you meet the minimum qualifications. If you don't meet the height requirement for a job and cannot get a waiver then study something else or find a way to overcome the obstacle. Everyone who wants to be in law enforcement and the military should be told of these minimum physical requirements. Let me clarify, the candidates who want to be police officers should do the research and find out for themselves if they meet the minimum requirements before they start a course of study…” Arvid Auran, a friend who reversed his name in FB said: “In the US they require proportionate body height and weight. No mention on how tall or how short. Probably officials of the Armed forces or even the police force should amend their minimum requirement to accommodate our shorter bros. and sis who are willing to enter the force.

I had chats w/ an NCIP officer and was told that the bottom-line is for applicants to appeal and fill up a waiver form NAPOLCOM and for NCIP to validate the family tree or ancestral lineage of said applicant. I said that my heart truly bleeds for them. There is a word "ay piman met" which is unfair.

Former city mayor Peterey Bautista who is now the Chair of the Regional Police Advisory Board shared information saying: “Yes there is a height requirement, but that is exactly why they secure some proof to show that they are Cordilleran. Many have been taken in because of some show of cause. If it is NCIP for proof, so be it. Others lineage. That's still proof. Of course they also have to pass various tests. Mental, Physical etc. Another unfortunate thing is gender. Apparently there are many female applicants who pass but the quota for them is too little. Unlike the men it is the opposite they have a larger quota but too little passers. Hope this info helps. Applying is only the beginning, they get weeded out eventually. Blame should not be because of requirements. There are exemptions to the rule. If the kid deserves it, a board will study it surely. But let not the kids lose hope, try first. A criminology graduate has the edge but is not a guarantee. Today the police are looking for graduates in psychology, IT, social welfare, engineering etc.”

As I said, my heart truly bleeds for the girls whose heights are the same as my two daughters. In fact, my youngest wanted to be a flight stewardess for her to travel far and wide. But as the Ilocano saying goes…”anya ket garud ngay, dayta met ti parabor ti Apo a Namarsua”.