By Hannah Torregoza
Detained Sen. Leila de Lima on Monday sought the passage of a bill that seeks to ensure equal opportunities for men and women aiming to join the police force by hiring more female police officers in the Philippine National Police (PNP).
In filing Senate Bill No. 1148, de Lima wants to increase the number of women police officers in the PNP by amending Section 58 of Republic Act 8551, or “The Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998,” in order to conform to what is mandated under RA No. 9710, the Magna Carta of Women.
“There is urgency to increase women’s representation in the police force which hopefully will result in a more responsive and committed police force towards preventing violations and abuses of women’s rights,” de Lima said.
De Lima said her proposed amendment to RA No. 8551 is necessary due to the law’s discriminatory provision that is inconsistent with the provision of the Magna Carta of Women.
She said the Magna Carta of Women seeks to eliminate discrimination against women by recognizing, protecting, fulfilling and promoting the rights of Filipino women.
“One of the rights spelled out was the right of a woman to equal treatment of the law,” De Lima noted.
Under the bill, the PNP shall implement an increase in the annual recruitment, training, and education quota for female police officers until the number of female personnel increases from 10 to 50 percent in the next five years.
De Lima said the Philippines is obliged to take appropriate measures, including legislation, “so that every Filipina can enjoy her human rights and fundamental freedoms, without discrimination.”
The Philippines is the first country in Southeast Asia that signed and ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which is also known as the International Bill of Rights of Women.
Citing a study released by the Center for Women’s Resources (CWR), De Lima said 56 policemen have been involved in 33 state-perpetrated cases of violence against women as of 2018 since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office.
The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific has documented cases of abuses against women by the police in 2016, including a woman who reportedly ended up as the policemen’s sex slave for three days because she could not bail out her husband who was arrested on trumped-up drug charges in Manila.