How Can We Win the War on Crime with Low Police Morale?

I just came from a police officers training course at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Region XI. I am usually asked to talk about gender issues and the enforcement of laws on women and children. And I felt like a hypocrite talking about how it is duty of the police to  enforce these laws or face administrative sanctions as provided in the law when the leadership of the PNP, both local and national, is  being perceived to be violating such laws.

I could not help myself. I needed to ask the participants of the training: “How is your morale these days?”  I could practically hear their collective sigh. “Low morale talaga kami ngayon, ma’am” (our morale now is so low, ma’am) was the consensus of the class of around 50 police officers from all over Davao region.

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How can we be hospitable yet give bad service?

I hate becoming one of those annoying people who keep comparing the Philippines and Filipinos with other countries and nationalities. But my multiple horrible — they are not simply bad — experiences with what passes for customer service in this country have pushed me over the edge.

And I am not alone. There are millions of us. I think the reason why we have not staged a People Power-like revolution over this is because we just do not have the time and the energy to do so after standing in line or holding the line for customer service representatives. And I think these companies with poor customer service know that and that’s how they get away with it for so long.

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Jennifer Laude’s a Human Being

The violent murder of transgender woman, Jennifer Laude, allegedly by a US Marine over the weekend in Olongapo City has outraged the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community and confused the local law enforcers and the media covering the news on what to call the murder victim. Worse, some of them believe it is Laude’s fault she was murdered; that she has somehow brought it upon herself for “pretending to be a woman.”

Yes, I am calling her Jennifer and using the pronoun she. Because she identified as a transgender woman in life and that was her chosen name. She was not “pretending” to be a woman; that was her gender identity. And if we must talk about her in death, let us talk about her with respect. Not just the respect usually accorded to the dead, but respect for her gender identity.

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Lifestyle Check, Pinoy Style

If you google “lifestyle check” now your search will yield mostly news items about corruption in the Philippines. The items not from the Philippines are lifestyle check lists connected to health and wellness. This got me thinking. Does it mean lifestyle checking related to corruption is essentially a Philippine phenomenon?

I googled “most corrupt countries” and then searched for “lifestyle check (insert name of most corrupt country of choice)” to test my theory. It showed articles on “lifestyle under threat” because most corrupt countries are also areas of violent conflict or pieces about “lifestyle of luxury” because sometimes corrupt countries are also attractive travel destinations. So based on my google search, it appears that, yes, it’s only in the Philippines!

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That Ridiculous “Anti-Selfie” Bill

So the historic Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is expected to reach Congress anytime now and it needs the serious attention, review and deliberation of our legislators. In fact, they are considering forming an ad hoc committee to focus on this headed by Cagayan de Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez. House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. even said that they must “work double time to underscore the importance of this legislation and ensure the success of the peace process.”

I don’t know if Rep. Rodriguez’ recent withdrawal of support from the bill he authored, House Bill 4807, otherwise known as “An Act to Provide Protection From Personal Intrusion for Commercial Purposes,” has anything to do with his desire to demonstrate his seriousness in the task of tackling the BBL or is it simply because he faced significant opposition from the media and the general public on his “Anti-Selfie” bill. If I were his public relations person, I would spin it that way. That as a Mindanawon, passing the BBL has a far better impact on his constituents than legislating an anti-selfie bill in the “Selfie Capital of the World.”

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Heroism in the Face of Criticism

National Heroes Day in the Philippines was first commemorated every last Sunday of August of every year, per Act No. 3827 of the Philippine Legislature on October 28, 1931. President Cory Aquino adopted this in Administrative Code of 1987. Then in 2007, President Gloria Arroyo amended it through Republic Act No. 9492 and it now falls on the last Monday of August. I guess because it is not really a holiday if it happens on a Sunday, right?

Unlike other national holidays, this holiday does not celebrate and remember one particular person. It is a holiday that celebrates Filipino heroism in all forms and in all stages of our nation’s history. This is the day for the ordinary Filipinos who are placed in extraordinary situations and who chose to do the brave thing, the right thing, and the beneficial thing for their country.

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Angelo Reyes’ Exit Strategy

An exit strategy is a means of getting out of a difficult or unfavorable situation. It is also a strategy to mitigate failure. At worst, an exit strategy is a way to save face.  At best, an exit strategy will achieve an objective far more valuable than the cost of continued involvement.

Yesterday morning, former AFP chief of staff Angelo Reyes decided on and executed his exit strategy.

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