Aspiring cops with tattoo don't register 'clean, dignified image'

DEPARTMENT of Interior and Local Government (DILG) officer-in-charge Eduardo Año said Wednesday that he does not support the proposed removal of the “no tattoo” rule for aspiring cops, as “it does not register a clean and dignified image.”

"The Philippine National Police (PNP) as an organization enforcing the laws of the land must mirror an image worthy of the Filipino people's, especially the youth's trust and emulation, and policemen with tattoos do not register a clean and dignified image," he said.

"Call it old school, but the police service should not only deliver excellent law enforcement service but should be comprised of men and women who acknowledge that they are role models to the people and the youth," he added.

Año said although having a tattoo cannot dictate a person’s capability in performing a police officer’s duties, it also cannot be denied that having such creates an impression associated with “thugs and law offenders.”

He said the PNP at the moment cannot afford to be associated with thugs and law offenders, as they are still working to gain public trust and cooperation amid its anti-crime and anti-illegal drugs efforts.

He also said that the maintenance of the “no tattoo” rule complements the PNP’s ongoing “tamang bihis” (proper grooming) campaign that instructs police officers to use only the prescribed police uniforms.

"We want our police to look dignified, wearing proper uniform, and with no tattoos," Año said.

Earlier, PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa expressed disagreement to the proposal of Davao City Representative Karlo Nograles to remove the “no tattoo” rule as among the requirements upon entering the police force.

Nograles said such rule was “quite archaic” and judgmental.

He said an applicant should not be denied the right to serve the country as long as the applicant is physically fit, with good moral character and no criminal record.

However, Dela Rosa said he is more inclined to maintain the tradition in the PNP.

"Meron kaming standing policy diyan na bawal talaga mag-recruit 'yung mga may tattoo, pero hindi namin sila nire-reject outright. Sabi namin, 'Gusto mo talaga mag-pulis? Umuwi ka, tanggalin mo 'yung tattoo mo. Kung tago siguro okay lang, pero makikita pa rin 'yan paghubad nila doon sa Health Service...'Yung medical exam lahat 'yan dahil hubad so advice pa rin natin na tanggalin nila 'yung tattoo nila," he said.

"Basta kami, we are just being traditional kasi 'pag mawala 'yung standard ng PNPA (Philippine National Police Academy) like shaving your mustache, ang pangit tingnan 'pag pulis naka-uniporme, hindi nakagupit. Part of the grooming 'yan eh. Hindi nakapag-shave—ang pangit tingnan, 'di ba? How much more kung maraming tattoo dito, baka sabihin criminal ba itong pulis na 'to," he added.

The PNP Memorandum Circular 2014-010 states that "the recruitment officer shall initially conduct a visual physical inspection for presence of tattoos and noticeable deformities of the applicant."

The PNP Aacademy lists tattoo and other brotherhood marks as one of the grounds for medical disqualification. (SunStar Philippines)

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