FACT CHECK News PHL Vote 2019

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Samira Gutoc gets ARMM police figures wrong

Senatorial candidate Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, a former member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, cited wrong figures on the police-to-population ratio in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).


In the Feb. 9 GMA News senatorial debate, Gutoc, previously a member of the ARMM legislative assembly and now running under the Liberal Party, spoke of her track record in working for peace in Mindanao:

Naging grassroots leader tayo, chairman ng anti-crime movement sa Marawi City para po labanan ang terorismo (I was a grassroots leader, chairman of the anti-crime movement in Marawi City to fight off terrorism). Marami pong trabaho ang gagawin (There’s a lot of work to be done); we only have one police for 3,000 persons in our municipalities and cities in ARMM.”

Source: GMA News, REPLAY: Debate 2019: The GMA Senatorial Face-Off, Feb. 9, 2019, watch from 30:34 to 30:56


Official police data do not support Gutoc’s claim.

As of Dec. 31, 2018, the ARMM police-to-population ratio stood at 1:565, or one cop for every 565 residents, data from the Philippine National Police (PNP) show.

This is not far from the standard used by the PNP of one officer for ever 500 residents, which was set by law in 1990:

“On the average nationwide, the manning levels of the PNP shall be approximately in accordance with a police-to-population ratio of one policeman for every 500 persons.”

Source: Official Gazette, Department of Interior and Local Government Act of 1990


None of the country’s 17 regions matched or even came close to Gutoc’s 1:3,000 ratio. Calabarzon (Calamba, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) Region, the farthest from the 1:500 standard, had a ratio of 1:1,225 or one cop for every 1,225 residents.

Only the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Caraga Region exceeded the standard at 1:313 and 1:446, respectively.

Of the 15 regions that failed to meet the standard, the ARMM had the fourth lowest personnel shortage count. Personnel shortage is determined by subtracting the actual personnel count from the “ideal” figure, which the PNP designates by region based on population, following the 1:500 ratio.


Aside from population density, the law said “actual [police] strength by cities and municipalities shall depend on the state of peace and order” and “actual demands of the service” in the particular area. This, provided police-to-population ratio will not go below 1:1,000 and that urban areas will have a higher set minimum ratio.




GMA News, REPLAY: Debate 2019: The GMA Senatorial Face-Off, Feb. 9, 2019

Philippine National Police, Schedule on Police to Population Ratio as of Dec. 31, 2018

Official Gazette, Republic Act 6975, Sec. 27

United Nations, Report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services on the comprehensive audit of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo mandate implementation, April 18, 2008, Samira Gutoc-Tomawis


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)

(VERA Files is a part of, a collaborative fact-checking initiative by the academe and the media for the 2019 Philippine midterm elections.)