Sunday, February 22, 2009

Is there a Vision for a Better Philippines?

He says:

Personally, I have a problem with these so-called ‘visions” especially those from politicians. Free education, better health-care, reformed governance yada yada yada. We’ve heard it all before. If that’s going to be their vision then this country is in for more trouble. If you still don’t know it yet, the problem with such “visions” is that they’re nothing more than platitudes unsupported by any specific plan for realisation.

Of course, he knows I'm rooting for Dick Gordon as a Presidential Candidate in 2010 and I welcome this call for the challenge it represents.  I don't think I can satisfactorily refute Better Philippines, but I'll try anyway.

I agree that Vision Statements are 'diyes sentimos ang dosena' (dime a dozen) and if that's all a candidacy is good for, his or her candidacy will be done for even before the election season opens.  After all, Vision Statements merely point to what one intends to accomplish and what makes it worthy of any consideration is whether the one advocating the vision has any experience or track record in realizing visions of any sort.

Anybody can advocate a Vision Statement and you don't need to go to a workshop/seminar to craft a vision statement.  Heck, I had dozens of visions while communicating with the porcelain seat after eating a batch of not-so-fresh oysters. 

I think the problem with Vision Statements, really, is the credibility of those espousing or advocating it.

Bloggers with opinions on how to solve perennial problems such as crime and traffic might find themselves in the same boat with politicians who lack credibility when it comes to a vision of a better Philippines.

For example, Better Philippines advocates the following in response to the shoot out (or should it be called summary execution?) in Quezon City.

In line with this blog’s thrust of providing both constructive criticism and possible solutions, may I suggest a number of radical steps that may help improve the PNP.

Keep all police officers over the age of 40 away from field duty. Ask them to retire, dismiss them or assign them to office duties instead. Just keep them off the streets.

(What would be the basis for proposing this?  Does it say that those under 40 are less capable of doing wrong?  How many young patrolmen have we seen in the news being implicated in crimes?  I'd say, age would be a poor determinant and would rather go for REAL performance assessments, the basis of which would be used to dismiss or retire ineffective police officers.)

(Moreover, if at all, the so-called Quezon City Shootout really puts to question the judgement of younger police officers.  Those involved in the shootout/rubout were PO1's and PO2's.  Were they under 40?  I'd guess yes.  So, where does that lead us now, Better Philippines?)

Replace the guns of police officers over the age of 40 with nightsticks or any other non-lethal weapon.

(Yeah, we can arm them with luffa or patola. Again, what is the basis of disarming policemen over 40?  Are they more trigger happy than their younger counterparts?  I've heard that police in some territories of Canada do not carry weapons at all and perhaps this is more of a testament of how less prone their population is to violent behavior.)

Impose a higher educational requirement for would-be policemen.

(Higher educational attainment for policemen is always desireable.  Not only can they catch criminals while citing chapter and verse of the laws violated, they can also patrol the University Belt and be available as tutors on various subjects.  But just how educated do you have to be in order to be a good policeman?  Do you have to be a CPA?  Then again, consider the case of Philippine National Police comptroller Eliseo de la Paz who allegedly tried to smuggle out Euros out of Russia.  I am not saying that well-educated policemen who can quote Shakespeare or Balagtas aren't going to be more effective, I am just saying that perhaps what we are looking for is better training and better performance reviews of our police officers.)

Require all police officers to undergo behavior modification.

(Okay, this is a good one.  But then again, shouldn't we be weeding out those with behavior problems BEFORE they get into service and not spend money modifying the behavior of those the PNP has hired?   The question which bears asking at this point is whether or not bad behavior is acquired after they become policemen.)

Dismiss all discourteous and arrogant police officers.

(Will Better Philippines one day blog about how he actually filed a complaint against an arrogant cop and pursued the case till the police officer got the boot?  I'd be all praises because it really takes a lot of guts, time and effort to do this.  A mutual friend whom we both went to college with did such a thing and while he was successful at getting the erring police officer booted from service, now has to contend with almost daily threats to his life.  How many more of us are willing to do this?)

Dismiss all police officers that have vices. Make having vices grounds for automatic dismissal.

(Smoking, hard drinking, drug using, womanizing, and gambling cops should be a thing of the past.  In fact, there are already laws as well as rules of conduct that prohibit policemen for engaging in vices.  Strict monitoring and stricter enforcement are the solutions.  That'll be up to the ordinary citizen to do.  Are you up for it?)

Require all police personnel to attend daily mass or any other equivalent religious ceremony.

(President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the First Gentleman attend mass religiously.  So does Mayor Antonio Sanchez.  What's the point?  There is none.  People who go to mass are just as likely to do wrong.  Perhaps the most you can expect is that they will feel guilty for whatever wrong they've done, but then again, that may be too much to hope for too.) 

(Next up, Gordon's Vision for a Better Philippines and why I think he'll make it happen.)

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