AFP, PNP urged to scrap height requirement, no-tattoo rule

MANILA, Philippines – A lawmaker from the ruling PDP-Laban is calling on the country's police and military to scrap "archaic" requirements for aspiring members, including one that bans the recruitment of those with tattoos.

In a statement released on Sunday, April 1, Davao City 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles said it was "high time" for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to scrap a rule that bars people with tattoos, and another that sets a minimum height requirement for applicants.

"For our military and police organizations to bar the entry of capable and well-meaning Filipinos in their ranks on the basis of tattoos is quite archaic, if only because tattoos are no longer taboo in this day and age. Thus, we call for the removal of this ban," said Nograles, chairman of the appropriations committee in the House of Representatives.

Under existing conventions, an aspiring soldier or police may be disqualified based on existing tattoos. The Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) and the PNP, for instance, cite "tattoos or other brotherhood marks" as possible grounds for "medical disqualification."

Nograles said it was "unfair" for those with tattoos to be rejected based solely on the marks on their bodies.

"Like the nonsensical minimum height requirement of at least 5 feet for both the military and police service, the no-tattoo rule must be done away with for the simple reason that it is not a good measure of one's capabilities or heart on the battlefield," added Nograles, who's being floated as a senatorial bet in 2019.

Applicants to the military should be at least 5 feet tall to be considered. The standard is a little higher for police, who must be at least 1.67 meters (5.48 feet) tall for men and 1.57 meters (5.15 feet) tall for women.

Recently, Congress approved a measure that would increase the base pay of soldiers and police. This was among President Rodrigo Duterte's promises during the 2016 elections. –