By Aaron Recuenco
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has mandated the inclusion of human rights teachings for all police recruits in order to institutionalize respect for the rights of arrested criminals among its uniformed personnel.
PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said the mandatory conduct of human rights-related seminars is but a proof that respect for human rights is deeply embedded in PNP doctrine, systems and procedures amid criticisms of rampant violations of the policemen in the conduct of the drug war since July 2016.
He added that respect for human rights is even embedded in the PNP’s Police Operational Procedures or rules of engagement which is considered as the bible of the policemen in the conduct of operations.
“To institutionalize human rights advocacy, human rights training modules is standard program of instruction in all mandatory and specialized in- service training courses from basic recruit course to qualifying courses for senior officers,” said Albayalde.
“In addition to mandatory training, the PNP is also conducting a 15-day specialized Human Rights Officers’ Course which is the first advance course on human rights among police agencies in Asia,” he added.
Albayalde made the statement as the PNP also joined the observance of the National Human Rights Consciousness Week and the 70th Anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“We will remain steadfast and committed to our advocacy for human rights as foundation of justice and peace. It is ingrained in our institutional policy and deeply-rooted through our doctrine and mandate,” Albayalde said.
The Human Rights Consciousness Week is celebrated every December 4-10 of each year pursuant to Republic Act No. 9201 or the “National Human Rights Consciousness Week Act of 2002″.
The weeklong observance culminates on December 10th which is the International Human Rights Day and 70th year when the Philippines joined other countries as among major signatories of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
Senior Supt. Ildebrandi Usana, head of the PNP Human Rights Affairs Office, said the PNP celebrates the week with various activities such as seminars and refreshers course on human rights for directorial staff and national support units.
“We are also conducting custodial facility inspection to ensure compliance of PNP lock-up cells and holding facilities within prescribed standards,” said Usana.
He said the PNP is continuing its closed coordination with the Commission on Human Rights and Presidential Human Rights Committee through institutional capacity development and multi-sectoral cooperation engaging with other organizations.
The Human Rights Affairs Office was activated on June 29, 2007 specifically tasked to mainstream and overview human rights concerns in the PNP’s policies and processes and responses to the requirements of due process and rule of law in police operations.