February 11, 2021 at 12:15 am
"Most Police operations nowadays are in urban areas consisting of simple patrolling and other basic crime-prevention activities."
In recent months, the Philippine National Police has been using the camouflage uniform in the performance of their ordinary law enforcement duties in many urban centers like Metro Manila. This is instead of the usual blue uniform that the public has grown accustomed to. No explanation on the part of the PNP authorities has been released why this is so.
The camouflage uniform ordinarily is a combat uniform worn in jungles or in terrains with a lot of greeneries. This is designed to make it difficult for the enemy to spot our police or military elements elements during combat operations. Most Police operations nowadays, however, are in urban areas consisting of simple patrolling and other basic crime-prevention activities. Why the PNP has been wearing the camouflage uniform for the past months is therefore a bit of a mystery. This is because when the Police operate in urban areas, the idea is to make their presence easily known to the public and not hide their presence. The camouflage uniform is also more associated to military-type combat operations and may wrong impression to the public.
It might therefore be better for the Police to simply use the blue uniform. Another problem in using the camouflage uniform is that the uniform being worn are not the same for all personnel. Up north where I live, the camouflage uniform is different from that of the National Capitol Region and elsewhere. In the NCR, the black color is not so prominent while the green color predominates throughout and appears to be very much lighter. It also looks exactly the same as the United States Army camouflage uniform. So, what exactly is the design and kind of cloth that is authorized by the PNP for the uniform? Does this mean that the PNP simply copied the US camouflage uniform in toto without even bothering to conduct its own research on what is the best cloth and design for our Police in the tropics? If this is the case, it is basically the same as in the 1980s when the United States dumped a large number of surplus fatigues and camouflage uniforms to the Armed Forces. During those times, it was customary for AFP elements to be wearing US uniforms and looking like part of the US military at times. Today however, it is important that the PNP and the Military for that matter conduct their own research and experimentations to come up with our own design that is different from that of the US Army camouflage uniform. If for no other reason, this will be good for our national pride.
Uniforms, as we know, do evolve. The PNP only started wearing the blue uniform not too long ago. The old Constabulary uniform for those who still remember was the Khaki and Red combination. When the organization became the PNP, the old guards did not like to change the color of the uniform and so, part of the khaki was maintained. Some officers however, wanted to modernize the Police uniform and came up with the blue colored uniform in keeping with the American police uniform that favored the blue as the appropriate color for the Police. That color is what we have today but the red color is still in the so-called Pershing Cap that officers wear and the stripes of non-commissioned officers. People still want to keep the old Constabulary color of red even if aesthetically, it does not blend well with the color blue. As they say there are just things that are hard to change. The Police formal dress attire is also almost the same as the AFP. But there is a slight difference in the wearing of the ribbons and decorations. The AFP wear theirs on the left breast while the Police is on the right breast. This is because the Police badge or shield is worn above the left breast pocket in keeping with the old American tradition of the Sheriffs of the old west putting their badges in the same place. There was a bit of a debate on this and I was one of those who questioned why we were following a tradition that was not ours. I tried to point out that during the Spanish colonial period, the Guardia Civil which was basically our Police force, were detached from the Spanish Colonial Army stationed in the Philippines to serve as our initial Police Force. It was then decided that in keeping with the new constitution that mandated a police force that is national in scope but civilian in character, the police badge of the left breast won the day. This could still change but today, Police personnel wear their police badges on the left breast of their blue uniforms.