How can the Philippine National Police (PNP) elevate its stature in the eyes of the public? Include the role of the police in the curriculum of the Department of Education (DepEd).
Cayetano made this suggestion on December 12, 2023 in his interpellation on Senate Bill No. 2449 sponsored by Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa which proposes amendments to the PNP Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998.
“What can we do in this law to help the members of the PNP na iakyat ang kanilang stature? What I would propose is to look at the curriculum and to look in the DepEd [as to] how we can teach our children about the police,” the independent senator said.
Cayetano said public perception of the PNP has gotten so low that even television programs tend to portray the police organization negatively.
He recalled the time in 2018 when then-PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde expressed concern about the adverse portrayal of police officers in the media, specifically in the widely-watched ABS-CBN program “Ang Probinsyano.”
“We were already in the Senate noong nagreklamo si Chief Albayalde doon sa Ang Probinsyano [dahil] mayroon parang masamang depiction sa [mga pulis],” he said.
Cayetano said teaching children early on about the role of the police in society will go a long way in changing public perception, even though it will take years to achieve.
He cited the steps taken by Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew who saw that Chinese Singaporeans tended to view police officers of different races with disdain.
“Ang ginawa ni Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, he gave the assignment to (the Ministry of Education). Sabi niya, ‘I’m giving you 10 years na magbago ang paningin ng tao lalo na ng next generation sa pulis at saka sa militar,’” he said, adding the goal was achieved within that time frame.
The independent senator, however, clarified that he is not advocating a manipulated or falsely elevated perception of the police through education, saying public perception should be matched by a “revival of the heart” of the police officers and the organization itself.
“Let me just make that statement proposal that when we talk about stature, we’re not talking about artificial stature. Kapag y’ung revival of the heart ng pulis [at] y’ung kanyang stature ay medyo napaganda natin, then mapapaganda rin natin [ang tingin sa kanila ng publiko],” he said.