Philippine National Police
The Philippine National Police or PNP is the national police force of the Republic of the Philippines with a manpower strength of 113,928 as of end-July 2007. It provides law enforcement services through its regional, provincial, municipal, district and local police units all over the islands.
Created by virtue of Republic Act 6975, otherwise known as the “Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990", the PNP came into being on January 29, 1991, at Camp Crame, Quezon City, when the Philippine Constabulary and the Integrated National Police were retired as mandated by law.
The Men and Women of the PNP are committed to a vision of a professional, dynamic and highly motivated Philippine National Police working in partnership with a responsive community towards the attainment of a safe place to live, work, invest and do business with.
To enforce the law, to prevent and control crimes, to maintain peace and order, and to ensure public safety and internal security with the active support of the community.
Organized policing started in 1500s when nightmen or bantayans patrolled the streets of Manila. The nightmen were under the direction of the alguacil mayor who provided them with muskets as weapons and alarm bells as their means of communication.
In 1836, the Spanish colonial authorities formed the Cuadrillo, a rural police force, to enforce peace in the countryside. Six years later, its general function was assumed by the Cuerpo de Carabineros de Seguridad Publica.
The Carabineros de Seguridad Publica was organized in 1712 for the purpose of carrying outlaws of the Spanish government. Native Filipinos served up to the rank of sergeant under the command of Spanish officers. It was the earlier version of mounted riflemen in the history of the Philippine police system.
In 1852, the notoriously dreaded Guardia Civil took over peacekeeping duties in the islands under a Royal Decree. Guardia Civil in the provinces was composed mainly of Filipinos who worked under the jurisdiction of the alcaldes or mayors. They followed a military structure and received semi-military training yet lacked other dimensions of today’s police service.
The capture of General Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the First Philippine Republic, signaled the start of the American occupation of the Philippines. Maintaining peace and order, particularly in the countryside, remained the biggest problem of the Americans. The Americans failed to subdue the followers of Aguinaldo like Gen. Macario Sakay. Hostilities continued in Batangas, Mindoro, Cebu, Bohol and Samar. A military solution to the peace and order problem was ruled, hence, the birth of the Philippine Constabulary.
To fight rampant lawlessness, the Philippine Constabulary divided the entire country into constabulary districts. Banditry was rampant in Southern Luzon. Records referred to the bandits as tulisanes. The style of fighting of the early American Constables and the bandits was “man-to-man, on foot, and generally by arms and bolos.” The American foot soldiers had a hard time repelling the tulisanes in their fight in the mountains as their enemies were familiar with the terrain. Malaria and cholera were the diseases that the afflicted the American troops whenever they conducted foot patrol in the hinterlands.
The Insular Force
The Americans are credited for creating the Philippine Constabulary, the principal instrument of the civil authorities for the maintenance of peace and order. The PC began as a small unit—the Insular Force in 1901. It was set up by virtue of Organic Act No. 175, enacted by the Second Philippine Commission on July 18, 1901. The Constabulary then was composed of six thousand men led by American officers and former members of the Spanish Guardia Civil. Under close American direction and control, it functioned as a military organization.
Since its formation, the Constabulary had been primarily discharging police law enforcement and public safety functions. Its officers and men had served with distinction both in the field of law enforcement and in combating violence and lawlessness, and in various aspects of public service. There was even a time in history when they performed the duties of teachers, sanitary inspectors, midwives, doctors and foresters.
The Philippine Constabulary was mandated as a civilian organization on March 15, 1945 when it was placed under the general supervision of the Interior then later transferred to the Secretary of National Defense on March 30, 1950. The Secretary of Interior had supervision over the Constabulary as early as January 13, 1939 until the outbreak of World War II.
As an insular police force, the officers of the Constabulary carried the civilian title of “inspector.” Its peacekeeping duty was limited to areas where military rule had been lifted.
The Constabulary At War
The participation of the Constabulary in the dark years of the Second World War began upon President Roosevelt’s declaration of a state of emergency in the United States. Manila prepared for war. The word had been sent: Japan, the Axis power’s ally in Asia, would soon attack the Far East. Filipinos woke up on the morning of December 8, 1941 to the news that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. The first war casualties of the Constabulary came from the bombing of Pan-American Airways installation at San Pedro, Maklati in the afternoon of December 8. Six Constables from the Headquarters Company were wounded. The next days and months saw relentless Japanese bombings on the country’s landmarks, airfields and naval bases.
The Death March
The Japanese had taken Manila but were surprised that no defense forces were waiting to be captured. The Japanese forces then began the siege of Bataan, ordering four infantry regiments with artillery and tank support to crush the American and Filipino soldiers. The Japanese then prepared to transfer the prisoners and surrendered troops to Camp o’ Donnel in Capas, Tarlac in what has been known as the “Death March.” Because of torture and starvation, 4,326 prisoners of war died in the infamous march.
The Postwar Constabulary
The county was left in shambles after the Second World War. Manila was in ruins. Loose firearms and dead bodies littered the streets. This was also the period when communist ideology had been propagated in the countryside and hard-line supporters had been won.
The Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan or Hukbalahap became a force to reckon with in Central Luzon. The Hukbalahap was born in Pampanga and was spawned by a feudal land system in the province dominated by landlords. Pampanga was an “ideal ground” for the agrarian unrest. It achieved legal status during the Japanese occupation when it merged with the guerilla forces in fighting the Japanese.
The communist movement, meanwhile, capitalized on the agrarian problems of the country to cement its presence. Agrarian unrest was prevalent in agricultural lands in Luzon as well as the sprawling haciendas in the south. Luis Taruc became a leader of the HMBs and founded his own government in Central Luzon.
It was during this turbulent period that the Philippine Constabulary was reactivated into the Military Police Command . Faced with peace and order problems, the Military Police Command was suffering from its own internal crises. The last war had killed many Constables. There was a dearth for trained personnel who would be utilized to address the problems.
Constabulary records showed that there were about 20,000 Hukbalahaps in Luzon in 1946. The Military Police Command, on the other hand, had 23,000 informal enlistees.
On January 1, 1944, the Military Police Command was dissolved by virtue of Executive Order No. 94 issued by President Manuel A. Roxas. The Command’s 12,000 officers and men were absorbed by the newly reorganized Philippine Constabulary.
The revitalized PC was in charge of the country’s peace and order “except those which were purely military in nature.” Brig. Gen. Mariano Castañeda became chief of the PC and instituted reforms. On June 21, 1948, President Elpidio Quirino offered general amnesty to the Huks. Taruc, who had been elected a member of Congress representing Pampanga, returned to Manila. But Taruc had no plans to surrender. He only went to Manila to collect his back salaries and used the money for his comrades’ operations in Central Luzon. President Ramon Magsaysay was credited for crippling the Huk movement by mobilizing the Philippine Constabulary. Magsaysay used the “friendly touch” for winning over the Huks, building roads for them and giving them lands.
The Rise of the Communist Party of the Philippines
The Philippine Constabulary’s attempt to maintain peace and order did not end with the decimation of the Huks. On December 26, 1968, Jose Maria Sison, a Political Science student at the University of the Philippines, founded the Communist Party of the Philippines. The communist ideology spread through a small discussion group called Kabataan Makabayan organized by Sison and his colleagues in the middle sixties. Sison then rose to become the leader of the CPP and organized the military wing of the CPP, the New People’s Army. But the communists suffered a crushing blow on January 9, 1969 in the hands of the Constabulary who killed the most number of communist leaders in one encounter in Orani, Bataan.
The PC Metropolitan Command
The upsurge of mass demonstrations and violence during the latter part of the 60s and the expansion efforts of the communist movement triggered the creation of the PC Metropolitan Command. To quell the unrest, President Ferdinand Marcos issued Executive Order Number 76 on July 14, 1967 establishing the PC Metrocom which became the PC’s striking force as it was authorized to conduct 24/7 patrol in the entire Metro Manila and was tasked to “supplement or complement local police action in the repression and prevention of crimes…”
Martial Law and the PC
The Philippine Constabulary took on a pivotal role when President Marcos declared Martial Law on September 21,1972. Marcos mobilized the Constabulary and other major services of the military to dismantle the “unconstitutional opposition” and to prevent widespread hooliganism and gangsterism. Convinced that there was a need to restructure the social base that bred lawlessness, Marcos reorganized the government machinery to effect his desired changes in the social, economic and political structures.
On March 21, 1974, President Ferdinand E. Marcos signed Presidential Decree 421 unifying all the police, fire and jail services in Metro Manila. The move was significant as it created an elite force, the Metropolitan Police Force, that was placed under the aegis of the PC Metrocom. The decree was also the first step in fulfilling the constitutional mandate for an integrated national police force. The Metropolitan Police Force was tasked to carry out the integration of all police units nationwide.
Brigadier General Prospero A Olivas, commanding general of the Metrocom, was assigned the task of launching the pilot project under the supervision of Fidel V. Ramos and Brigadier General Cicero C. Campos, deputy Chief for police matters. General Olivas would have the power and direction over the Metrocom, including tactical, strategic movements, deployments, placements and utilization of the entire force and the training thereof.
On August 8, 1975, Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 765 establishing the Integrated National Police with the Philippine Constabulary as the nucleus and all police officers as components. They were all placed under the supervision of the Ministry of National Defense.
The Creation of the Philippine National Police
The People’s Revolution of 1986 saw the birth of the 1987 Constitution that included a provision on the PNP which was to be “national in scope and civilian in character.” In 1991, the Philippine National Police was created with the passage of Republic Act No. 6975, otherwise known as the “Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990.” The principal authors of the Republic Act 6975 were Senators Ernesto N Maceda and Aquilino Pimentel, Congressmen Jose S Cojuangco Jr. and Rodrigo Gutang.
Upon its signing into law on December 13, 1990, the PNP underwent a transitory period; and on 31 March 1991, President Corazon Aquino named General Cesar Nazareno as the first Director General of the Philippine National Police.
On January 29, 1991, at Camp Crame, Quezon City, the Philippine Constabulary and the Integrated National Police were retired officially and the Philippine National Police was born.
Like any new evolving organization, the PNP suffered from birth pains. To address these concerns, Republic Act 8551 or the PNP Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998 was enacted on February 17, 1998 to amend certain provisions of Republic Act No. 6975. This move was in response to the growing clamor to transform the PNP “into a more responsive, effective and relevant police organization.” Under this Act, the PNP shall be strengthened and evolved into a highly efficient police force that is community and service-oriented and fully accountable in the performance of its action.
Officers for the Philippine National Police are sourced from the Philippine National Academy as well as through lateral entry, for specialized disciplines and requirements such as doctors, engineers and other technical positions.
The Philippine National Police Academy is located in Silang, Cavite and is the primary training school for the PNP.
Recruitment and Training
The PNP conducts regular recruitment programs, depending on annual budget allocations. The entry level for non-commissioned officers is the rank of Police Officer 1 or PO1, with a starting salary of P14,265.00 inclusive of allowances. The new recruits undergo Police Basic Recruit Course for six months, and a Field Training Program for another six months prior to deployment to various units.
Police Auxiliary Unit
In 2009 Mayor Agustin Perdices of Dumaguete, Negros Oriental has approved the deputation of baranggay tanods as members of the special Police Auxillary Unit (PAU) of the Negros Oriental provincial police. Forty (40) Baranggay Public Safety Officers (BSPO) were authorized to carry duly licensed firearms and issued corresponding identification cards. 
- Special Action Force
- Cantero, Patricia Ann V, ed. In the Name of Service. Quezon City, Philippines: 2006.
- # ^ Tanods to be issued firearms-PNP