December 2, 2022

It is the responsibility of unit commanders to know the mental health status of their personnel, according to Philippine National Police Chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar.
Eleazar, in his visit to the Police Regional Office-Cordillera at Camp Bado Dangwa, La Trinidad, Benguet, said the recent killing of Cordilleran police officer, Col. Michael Bawayan Jr., and his subordinate, has moved the PNP to also focus on the mental health issues of its personnel.
Eleazar paid tribute to Bawayan when he attended the latter’s funeral at the Pyramid Memorial Park in Poblacion, La Trinidad.
Bawayan was shot by Staff Sgt. Imran Jilah in Jolo, Sulu on July 30 during a disagreement. Jilah was later shot dead by Bawayan’s escort.
Eleazar has acknowledged Bawayan was only implementing discipline since he is known as a disciplinarian.
“Dahil sa ating trabaho, the hazard that we face, doon tayo makakuha ng mga challenges, emotionally and mentally na dapat nating tinutugunan. At diyan ang responsibilidad ng ating organisasyon at responsibilidad ng ating unit commanders,” Eleazar said.
Under the current setup, the PNP conducts a neuro-psychiatric examination only to those applying to enter the police service, or those applying for promotion or schooling programs.
The neuro-psychiatric examination checks the mental stability, adaptability, and psychological functioning of police applicants to know if they are fit to join the service.
Eleazar said the PNP is studying if it could conduct the tests every three years, which is being implemented by Armed Forces of the Philippines to all its officers and their subordinates.
Meantime, the PNP Health Services is offering its services especially for personnel who are prone to mental health hazards. 
“Base sa ating policy, any commander or any supervisor ay dapat alam din niya, kahit papaano itong ating mga police na mayroong pinagdadaanang ganyang problema,” he said, as he urged all commanders to immediately require any personnel facing mental health issues to the various PNP health services office for intervention.
“Always remember that police service is not something that is forced upon us to do, this is a decision that each and every one of us made, the path that all of us chose, a privilege that we should not abuse and a profession that we should all protect,” Eleazar said. – Ofelia C. Empian