“Going postal” just got upgraded to “Going Pinoy Policeman”. Tragedy brings out the best and worst in people. At best – it can be an opportunity for dissecting what went wrong, what can be done to do things better, and to create the necessary policy framework to create the conditions that prevent a repeat of future performance failures – to learn from it and grow.
On the flipside of it, is to take personal offense when our shortcomings as a nation (as opposed to our individual capabilities) are called out. It would be different if it were an imagined failure. The recent deaths in the Mendoza hostage-taking however were too real. People died unnecessarily – for all the world to see.
Another is to retreat into an imagined world when Filipinos supposedly had a glorious past to salvage the Filipino’s “tattered pride”. Peeps Bali has rice terraces too – and it is more well maintained, it’s not unique to the Philippines – get over it. Plus of course the typical urbanites contempt for indigenous people as uncouth and ignorant taga-bukid, taga-bundok, taga-probinsya. But when pushed to the wall about their heritage – sa taga bundok pa rin ang balik. The phoniness of it never ceases to amaze me.
Wasn’t it just yesterday when Filipinos were bashing Carolla, Chip Tsao, Alec Baldwin – and anyone who had the unfortunate circumstance of being too candid in front of an onion-skinned piece of work that only wants to dish but can’t take being on the receiving end.
And there are those who say “we have to stand tall and stand proud”. Stand tall about what? Stand proud about what exactly? That kind of attitude smacks of an ethnocentric arrogance and ignorance that is frankly very disturbing. Hindi lang anak ni batman, anak pa ni Hitler at Mussolini.
Obviously it was wrong for Mendoza to take hostages.
However, think about it further – here’s a man – fired for extortion – taking hostages to get his job back. Is that the reasoning of a sane man? Definitely, no. That alone would have already alerted people about an unstable man whose life could have been saved – as well as those of others.
And yet, the “experts” took their time, the President was nowhere to be found, and Philippine media was providing the hostage taker with a live feed. The lame answer was that media didn’t know there was a TV set in the bus. Really, they don’t know that tourist buses have TVs and DVD players? Have these TV executives ridden Philtranco? or Ceres Buses? or Yellow Bus – you know those airconditioned buses with TV which have been running on Philippine roads before the year 2000. Always-Bull-Syet-Completely-BUlok-in-the-Noggin alibis are just so pathetic but – there are people who do fall for that crap – and they think they are winning pa talaga.
In the recent CNN article “Analysts: Philippine leadership wilts under crisis spotlight” – eye caught the observation made by a commentor named NorthViking who said
“I knew the outcome of this would be a shootout! How i knew?
1. i have been an officer in the norwegian army in the special forces and saw all the huge mistake.
2 I lived over 4 years in Philippines before and learned how the police force works there, a corrupt bunch to say the least. I had a friend who was police and he told me many likes to be a police officer because they can be a power and many can be bought.
Now back to this incident. It seems to me that all that could go wrong went wrong, and mark my word: i will bet huge sum that some of the hostages were shot (by accident) by the police.
Im sorry to write all this, i do love the country (Philippines), but its time for them to straighten themselves up and get a grip on the police forces there, and get them better training as well.
I feel sorry for the victims of this and I hope that the filippinos will get themselves together to make it an attractive country to visit.”
And by the way, CNN’s Analyst Chamorro saying “Watching the incompetence unfold at home underlines why low-skilled laborers are wooed away to Hong Kong to work as domestic helpers, and why high-skilled engineers are lured to Dubai or skilled nurses flock to jobs in the United States” is old hat on AP. 8)
That was a milder way of saying “Get your shit together Philippines”.
Zeroing in on the Pinoy Aversion to Competence
“Sincerity, Honesty, Integrity, Transparency” will not save Aquino’s ass this time around, specially when it’s clear he doesn’t even have those qualities. Hear that Aquino supporters – honesty is not enough, COMPETENCE MATTERS.
This time around, Philippine society, our society – our media, our police, our government, our president, our police, our students and police who had their pictures taken – are under scrutiny more than ever. You can’t hide from it, you can’t run from it – the Net is watching you. After all Aquino issued a check called “hope”, did he expect that people will be happy to find out that When it was time to cash the check of Aquino’s hope – there were no sufficient funds. Or in the case of HLI, all you got was a piece of paper to wipe your ass with.
Competence matters. We need competent legislators, executives, officials that can come up with the good stuff – not the current rogue and clown gallery whose members insist they be called “honorable”. Oh my golly, the irony of it all. Honesty is not enough. Kakilala is not enough. Dahil winnable is not enough. What use is honest, kakilala, and winnable – gutom ka naman, and worse baka patay ka pa – not out of commission – but due to omission.
A Question of Leadership
In a previous exchange of tweets, one party said that P.Noy shouldn’t be dragged into the thing because: it was “inherited” from GMA, it was the tactical commanders call, there was no breaching equipment, etcetera. What a cop-out. It’s all about competent leadership. If there’s no breaching equipment – request from HK, Taiwan, the PSG, the Philippine Marines, get tactical advise from the US Navy Seals in the AOR. Second there were non-Filipinos involved and the proverbial “hot lines” should have been burning between the senior leadership to keep the governments of foreign nationals apprised.
Instead we get a lame bakla-esque response – an alibi that can only be made by two-bit TV show producers – in a “closed door” meeting. A proactive leader would have made the call to the government of the hostaged parties – and apprise them that something is happening and you are still getting details about it. Remember George Bush and his pet goat – and Katrina. Well, we have our version of Dubya who thinks he is like Barack Obama. It gets even better – his got supporters who think Pinoys “should stand tall and stand proud”.
Wanna bet on the Ningas Cogon Culture’s capacity for “Change”?
It’s high time this nominally Catholic country – that to everything there is a season, a time to weep, to heal, to mourn, to cast away, to keep silence, and to speak.
But today isn’t definitely a time to stand tall and proud – today is a day to ask ourselves – what can we do better next time around. Better yet, what can be done so as to prevent a repeat. I wouldn’t bet on it – not with ningas-cogon, pakikisama, mañaña habit, and bahala na around. 😆
It’s not even a hundred days into the Aquino administration – it’s going to be a long six years.
The headlines read that flags were at half-mast and a day of mourning was declared. They should keep that flag at half-mast for the next six years – while the Philippines remains hostage to a mad flippant president and his equally flippant supporters.
Pinoys should take heed from Michelangelo – “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”