Criminology Education vis-à-vis PNP and the Law Enforcement
By: GERRY J. CAÑO
Almost sixty-four (64) years already Criminology Education has been here in our country. Its objective is primarily anchored on molding law enforcers that could effectively assist prosecutors in criminal cases. This educational program is even way ahead by sixteen (16) years before the Philippine Congress passed Republic Act 4864 (Police Act of 1966); twenty-six (26) years ahead before the creation of the Integrated National Police; twenty-eight (28) years before the Philippine National Police Academy was operated; and 41 years before the Philippine National Police was established.
The forerunners of our criminology education were all active practitioners and stakeholders of the law enforcement sector, the prosecution and judiciary, and the correctional institutions of the country. Their wisdom and acumen has its lineage from their foreign and local formal education, trainings and handling of actual cases. These vast knowledge and skills in law enforcement are in the same texture shared today to our young people, honing them so as to realize their dreams and desires to become public safety practitioners, serving the people, protecting lives and properties.
Republic Act 6506 was passed into law in 1972, this law manifested the Board Examination among criminology graduates. However, it took sixteen (16) years before the first board examination was administered. As of 2003 to 2012 we have more than 75,000 Criminologists in the country, our rough estimate from 1988 to date, we have more than 100,000 Criminologists already. The licensure examination is conducted twice a year, and is now the third most number of takers in the PRC next only to nursing, and education examinees.
There are more than 430 Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) both in government and private Colleges and Universities offering criminology education. Approximately 200,000 students enroll in criminology every semester from 1st year to 4th year levels. These educational institutions have adhered to the standards set by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). However, other schools go further and above par, by submitting their School to quality assurance evaluation.
The CHED has its mechanisms to recognize and award Criminology Schools with sterling performance in all aspects and dimensions of the program. The Center for Excellence and Center of Development in Criminology Education is awarded by CHED to Schools who through the test of time have displayed remarkable achievements thereby making their graduates truly dependable human resource. The Institutional Quality Assurance Through Monitoring and Evaluation (EQUAME) of CHED is also one of the available tools to look into the quality of the graduates of HEIs. Aside from CHED the PACO-COA, PAASCU, AACCUP, and ISO are just some of the few accrediting institutions with international affiliation so as to continually benchmark the standards in order to cope with the international demands.
Criminology in Nation Building
Criminology education does significantly contribute to nation building. The economic viability of the Philippine market cannot single handedly be ascertained by the business sector alone. It necessitates the vital cog of peace and order as a basic criterion for sustainable growth and development.
Thus, our strong and dedicated criminology educated men and women in the government and private sector to mention a few, in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bureau of Fire Protection, National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Philippine Coast Guard, and other agencies. Since 1950’s up to the present have put their lives in peril, others even perished in the line of duty, defending and protecting our country and society from insurgents, separatists, rebels, terrorists, and criminals. They were/are fighting against the wicked elements of society so that we may have a peaceful community. Bringing into the fold the business environment, maintaining peace and order so that businesses will thrive, thereby helping and contributing the economy of the country propel.
The influx of criminology enrollees in Colleges and Universities nationwide, have not only created jobs, but as well as bolster a lot of attached and related businesses. These economic conditions have contributed meaningfully to nation building, not only because taxes were collected, but also the transformation of the lives of our people, enjoying the true meaning of quality life.
Relevance and Materiality of Criminology Education in Public Safety
There is no scintilla of logic, nor an iota of reason, not even a trivial evidence to show that criminology education is unfit and irrelevant to the policing business. Criminology is the most and only germane course for the police service and public safety related fields. Criminology and Criminal Justice Education in United States of America, European Union, Australia, Canada, and other countries is also the most and only relevant formal education and it is material in understanding crime, criminality, and policing. Equally relevant and material in all other fields like i.e., Teaching to Education Graduates, Lawyering to Lawyers, Medicating to Medical Doctors etc.
The core subjects of the Criminology Education are the same core subjects that the Philippine National Police Academy adopts since it started. The training provided to PNP personnel from the ranks of Police Officer 1 to Police Superintendent, tackles criminology core subjects, their trainings here and aboard on Criminal Investigation, Criminal Law, Forensic Sciences, Police Administration, Police Operations, Police Intelligence and many more are also found in the core subjects of the criminology curriculum.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) memorandum and policy standards stipulates that a criminology student has to complete 540 hours of On the Job Training (OJT), in the different law enforcement agencies/offices before they would graduate. Since this educational program has been offered in 1950, no Criminology graduate skipped the curriculum that required OJT. This tells us that even before Criminology graduates applied into the police service they have already served the people and the police organization without being compensated.
The PC/INP and or the PNP have also took part in molding the kind of criminology graduates we have either during the internship days of our students, or in the classroom as teachers and professors. Somehow the values, norms, attitude, and character of a police has also been shared and embedded into the conscious region of the minds of our students.
The provisions of the law that created the Philippine National Police, Republic Act 6975 recognized the Criminology Education as one of the fields that has lateral entry opportunity to become commissioned officer with the rank of Police Inspector. Republic Act 8551 also recognized that Graduate Studies in Criminology is one of the educational programs required for appointment to the position of Provincial Director, or Chief of Police in the Cities and Municipalities. The National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) Circulars have also recognized Criminologist for lateral entry in the line or technical service of the PNP. Licensed Criminologist has also an eligibility equivalent from Police Officer 1 up to Police Superintendent, in which such eligibility is enjoyed only among Lawyers and Criminologists.
No less than the sovereign Filipino People, the Philippine Congress (House of Representatives and Philippine Senate), and the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines, have recognized the value and relevance of criminology education in policing. Let no single servant of the people, or agent of the law, questions nor circumvents the voice and the will of the people, as it is manifested in the mandate of its law.
Competence on English language
The English language should not be the yardstick to measure the competence in policing and in law enforcement functions. Let us open our eyes big and wide, for we have a lot of communities in the country that have enjoyed peace and order without the help of English language. Please be reminded Sir Robert Peel’s timeless policing principle, “The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it”.
The observation on the ability to communicate must be clarified. That English language is not equal to communication. Problems with the English language are not tantamount to incompetency in communication or poor communication skills. While we recognize the value of English language, we should not forget the importance of understanding. The pinnacle and paramount importance of communication is not English language but rather a medium that can connect to the peoples’ understanding and comprehension.
Do we have assurance that graduates of education, journalism, social work, and psychology can deliver correct English language in both oral and written communication? Let’s not be hypocrites; No course in the Philippine educational system can guarantee its products having no problem in English communication skills. Even lawyers, doctors, PhD’s, and graduates from academies do suffer English language deficiencies and incompetence.
The Philippine National Police adopts the Community Oriented Policing System (COPS). The whole gamut of this policing concept is to establish strong partnership with the community so as to bring the optimum efficiency of the police service, crime prevention, and maintaining peace and order. Given the kind of Philippine society we have, how could English language be able to provide an effective conduit that would catapult the very kernel of COPS?
In all dimensions and facets of policing, creating more partnerships, generating more cooperation, and support from all sectors and stakeholders are the most ideal thing to do. The problem of English language among our police officers both in the commissioned and non-commission ranks should not be used as leverage because attaining peace and order knows no English language.
Conduct and Discipline
College courses and degrees earned by a person have no significant correlation and corollary to its attitude, character, values, ethics, and morality. Morality and ethics can be taught but it can never be imposed as a way of life. No amount of training in any field or discipline can assure moral uprightness, and be true to the ethical standards set forth.
Let us all look at corruption not limited to money and material things only, but also corruption in morality, ethics and values, socio-cultural, economic, political, education, public service, etc. Corruption and scandals happened from top to bottom in government; executive, legislative, judiciary. In business, corruption is also rampant moreso, in schools the molder of the young people’s mind and character, teachers and professors are also corrupted, even in religion and the church which is the bulwark of ethics and morality.
Can we find a single course for the Philippine National Police (PNP) that can assure the people that their graduates will not be involved in corruption and scandalous issues? Is there a course that teaches its products how not to be corrupt? Unfortunately if there is, it is still the same that there is none.
This is our unremitting challenge as a country, as a people, as a person.
N.B. Gerry J. Caño
Dean School of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Cagayan de Oro College-PHINMA Education Network
Professional Criminologists Association of the Philippines, Inc