PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan yesterday said he wants the implementation of the so-called ‘otso-otso’ or eight-hour shifts on a case-to-case basis in Metro Manila and other parts of the country to produce more ‘effective and efficient’ policemen.
“I want eight-hour shifts, on a case to case basis depending on the obtaining situation in certain areas of responsibility, based on the crime clock. We would also promote the Bayanihan spirit to enhance community policing by going down to the grassroots in the barangay. That is the essence of Community & Service Oriented Policing (CSOP). We need to start in the barangay,” the PNP chief told newsmen at Camp Crame.
Although Civil Service Commission rules require government employees to work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., members of the police force usually work from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or a 12-hour shifting duty. However, the general principle is that police work 24-hours a day since they can be called to respond to any situation any time of the day, any hour of the night.
With his directive, police under Cascolan may start to work eight-hour shifts soon which is a significant cut from the current 12-hours.
The member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 said that he prefers his men to perform shorter work hours since this will make them ‘more effective and efficient.’
“They’ll also be able to get better rest. We know that a cop can’t last eight hours patrolling,” he said.
Cascolan said a 12-hour duty is really tiring considering the fact that a cop has to do his administrative work like preparing reports or filing cases after the end of his duty.
“That’s already an hour more. Then add another hour for that cop to be able to go to his home. In short, that’s an average 16 hours already, giving the policeman eight hours to sleep, or spend a short time with his family. Wala ng matitirang oras sa pamilya pag ganun,” he said.
Cascolan added that based on his more than 35 years of experience as a police officer, they really need to have a very good work schedule particularly on beat patrolmen.
The PNP chief said the current 12-hour work period had proven to be exhausting, the reason why many policemen sometimes “rest” in the middle of their shift. Some of them have even been caught literally ‘sleeping on duty’ or taking a good nap, heavily tired due to their long work schedule.
Cascolan was the National Capital Region Police Office in April 2018 when he implemented the ‘8-hour work shift’ first at the the Quezon City Police District Station 6 in Batasan Hills.
He said that the move is part of his effort to boost the morale of the police.