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PNP chief says ‘no tattoo’ rule for recruits a ‘life-saving’ measure

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on Tuesday defended his opposition over the “no tattoo” rule for potential recruits, saying that such requirement is a “life-saving” measure.

Dela Rosa, who has disagreed on lifting the ban on the “no tattoo” rule, said more than grooming reasons, he was concerned with the medical implications of having a tattoo.

“Tanggalin niyo na lang yung rason ko na good grooming, life saving, dito tayo sa life saving, mas mabigat yung rason niya, hindi na sila pwedeng makapag-donate ng dugo ‘pag may tattoo.”

Dela Rosa remained firm that those aspiring policemen should remove their tattoo.

“We have to make it official, we have an existing policies na bawal may tattoo sa PNP lalong lalo na yung nakikita ‘pag nakauniporme,” he said.

“Forgive us if we have inherited this standard... So yung mga nagre-react diyan sorry lang talaga dahil meron kaming minemaintain na standard,” he added.

While there is a “tradition” that will have to be followed, the country’s top cop said that existing police personnel may have a tattoo if it is discreet.

“Yung tago okay lang basta hindi nakikita,” Dela Rosa said.

PHL Red Cross

Chief Supetintendent Elpidio Gabriel Jr., executive director of the Directorate for Police Community Relations, echoed Dela Rosa's concerns about officers with tattoo.

“Ang disadvantages kasi doon sa may tattoo, by medical advice hindi na sila pwedeng magdonate ng blood, yung mga elements namin na napalaban, syempre ‘pag kailangan nila ng dugo, ang una naming hinhingan mga elements din namin,” Gabriel told reporters in an interview.

“Much the same, merong mga civilian na ‘pag kailangan nila ng dugo tumatakbo sa SAF (Special Action Force), tumatakbo sa mga regional pulbic safety battalions, ngayon syempre yung mga may tattoo hindi makapagdonate, lalo na kung rare yung blood tapos yung only available sana na pwedeng magbigay ay meron tattoo wala na, hindi na siya makukunan,” he added.

The Philippine Red Cross, however, said that a person can donate blood for “as long as the tattooing procedure was done aseptically (in a sterile manner), he/she may donate blood one year after the procedure.”

“This is the same with ear piercing, acupuncture, and other procedures involving needles,” it added.

Gangster image

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana also thumbed down the call to scrap the prohibition on tattoo among potential recruits, saying that “tattoos are ugly and connotes gangster image.”

“We would like to keep it that way. Just like haircut. The military imposes strict rules on haircut and even mustache, why not tattoo?,” Lorenzana said.

“The Army is an old-fashioned organization in some ways. We have standards of behaviors that harkens back to medieval times and they are still relevant today: following orders, wearing approved uniform and badges, fitting into an organization, having a regulation haircut, regulated daily activities, be physically fit,” he added.

Archaic rule

Davao City Representative Karlo Nograles earlier urged the PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines to lift some of their "archaic" requirements for recruits, including the "no tattoo" rule.

Nograles said it was inappropriate to automatically associate or judge individuals with tattoos as being criminals, rebels or undesirables for their organizations.

"Like the nonsensical minimum height requirement of at least five 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," he said.

Recruitment of an individual with tattoos is currently prohibited by the PNP, the AFP and the Coast Guard as there are viewed as "physical defects" that "demerit or disqualify their application." — MDM, GMA News