Manila: The officer-in-charge of the Philippine National Police has announced a renewed drive against overweight lawmen, saying that officers who don’t meet the weight requirement could not hope for promotion.

In a press briefing at the national police headquarters, Camp Crame in Quezon City, Philippine National Police (PNP) Officer in Charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa, said being physically fit is a rigid requirement for the 200,000-plus organisation.

According to him, the move is not just a simple image makeover, but also to maintain and improve their health and well being of the police force.

He said that to sustain the fit policeman campaign, the lawmen would be subjected to regular weight monitoring.

Overweight police officers would be denied further schooling or other types of training that are required for promotions, he said.

“Unless, you comply with the Body Mass Index (BMI) requirement, you cannot be allowed schooling,” he said, adding that every police officer, including those in the top brass, are not exempted from this requirement.

The PNP had periodically put attention on this physical requirement for members of the police force, however, its strict enforcement had been inconsistent and dependent on whoever had been appointed to head of the law enforcement arm of the state.

Win-win solution

Senator Panfilo Lacson agrees with Gamboa’s move to improve and monitor the fitness and well-being of policemen.

“The fitness policy adopted by the Philippine National Police leadership is a win-win situation for all — except for the criminals, Lacson who headed the PNP from 1999 to 2001, said.

“I would like to think the best legacy I left in the police institution was the discipline that I instilled in my policemen who I enjoined to stop huffing and puffing with big bulging tummies. Instead, they maintained a maximum waistline of 34 inches so they would be trim and thin when they chased robbers and other criminals,” Lacson said.

Lacson, at the time he was PNP chief, personally led his men in physical fitness regimens.

“For many pot-bellied police officers, their waistlines were reduced to a point that they became proud and confident of wearing their police uniforms once more,” he added.

He said the sight of fit and trim police officers walking their area assignments would instill confidence in the public.

“If we have policemen and policewomen who are physically and morally fit, everybody indeed wins. Only the bad guys will lose,” he said.