By AARON B. RECUENCO
The ballooning population of Filipinos, expected to be at 100 million this year to be exact, is also causing jitters to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
For a law enforcement organization which has been desperately trying to keep up with the international standard of one policeman for every 500 people, the growing population is really a cause for worry according to Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, chief police information officer.
“The increase in population will also affect our services,” Sindac admitted in an interview.
It was actually the complications of having a big population that troubles the PNP, according to Sindac, since additional population has impact on cases of poverty that eventually boils down on the issue of additional crime volume, law enforcement-wise.
Currently, the police to population ratio stands at one for every 700 Pinoys, and even higher in some areas where there is one cop for every 1,000 people.
Right now, the PNP leadership admitted difficulty in covering all the areas in the country due to limited number of personnel, mobility and communication, and even firepower.
The PNP has a strength of 150,000, but the reality on the ground of having only a platoon-size cops, approximately 21, in every towns who are mostly squatting on dilapidated buildings in municipal halls exposes the lack of personnel to man every street and corner of the country.
But Sindac said both the PNP leadership and the national government are pushing for improvement and services of the police organization.
In fact, he said the growing population has been serving as a motivation and a pressure on the need to hire more personnel for more effective law enforcement operations.
“This (population boom) will serve as a basis for our planning and recruitment,” said Sindac. “This means that the growing population will be used as basis in our future plan of recruitment,” he added.