Wednesday, April 30, 2014

PNP Reforms (A continuing article). Part 4b – Deactivation or Reorganization of Outdated NSUs (Health Service)

The following is an article from a PNP Health Service publication:
PNP General Hospital: Then and Now (Excerpt from A Capite, Ad Calcem - HS 17th Anniversary Edition)

In 1950, an Infirmary was built with a twenty-five (25) capacity as a support unit to the Philippine Constabulary Command, located in Camp Panopio, P Tuazon, Quezon City.  It served as an extension facility of the Victorino Luna General Hospital.  It ws named the Constabulary Station Hospital with a fifty (50) bed capacity on MArch 1, 1955, later it would be renamed as the MPF-CAPCOM Hospital.

In 1972 a 100-bed hospital building was inagurated housing the whole Constabulary Station Hospital, located in Camp Crame, Santolan Quezon City.  In 1989,, it was renamed as the PC-INP General Hospital with one hundred fifty (150) bed capacity.

With the enactment of RA 6975, also known as the Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990, and becasue of the increasing number of patients, the Camp Panopio Hospital (formerly known as MPF-CAPCOM Hospital) and the Camp Crame Hospital (formerly known as PC-INP General Hospital) were merged to become the PNP General Hospital Main, at Camp Crame.  The PNPGH Annex at Camp Panopio housed the surgical facilities of the hospital.  In 2002, the PNPGH Leadership decided to transfer the different sections that were housed at the PNPGH Annex at Camp Panopio to the PNPGH Main at Camp Crame in ordr to provide a more efficient health care system to PNP personnel both uniformed and non-uniformed and their dependents and pther aithorized civilian patients who seek consultation and admission in PNPGH.  This paved the way to several changes in the physical planning and management of the hospital.

The Out-patient Department which caught fire sometime in 1998 had to be renovated and reorganized so as to facilitate a more convenient flow of patients and make room for a new Dialysis Center, an Ultrasound Section in the radiology service, a minor operating for the OPD Surgery Section and for new pharmacy.  The ECG Section also housed in the same building become roomier to accommodate a stress test or tread mill machine.  At present, this ECG Section been renamed as the Heart Station for it has now the capability of also doing a 2Decho cardiogram.  To adhere to the requirements of a Tertiary level hospital, the PNPGH Laboratory Service has added very recently to its services a Bacteriology Section which does culture and sensitivity test and a Blood Bank Station which stores blood for transfusion.  So if before, blood specimen for culture and sensitivity had to be spent out now no more.  Other services of the laboratory were enhanced with modern equipment like the hematology, microscopy, serolgy and clinical chemistry services.

The Emergency room which was first relocated at the center of the hospital ground became bigger and modernized to accommodate more patients.  But years later the then Director of the Health Service, PCSUPT  FEDERICO G DAMATAC and then chief, PNPGH PSSUPT FRANCISCO P ALTAREJOS agreed to transfer the ER to its present location near the entrance of the hospital premises for visibility and easy access of emergency cases. Today, the emergenecy room is more spacious, more equipped and manned by specialty trained medical officers, nurses and other allied personnel

(copied through cut and paste, thus all errors are from the original post.)

However the PNP Health Service paint themselves with the rosiest of pictures, I have negative personal experiences in the unit that I believe that it is time that the unit is removed as a support unit of the PNP and restructured as a PNP-owned profit earning corporation.  But setting aside my personal opinions which many may brand as bias, I still have arguments for the deactivation of the PNPHS.  Here are my reasons:

The concept of a medical corps as a regular unit in the military was borne out by the necessities of war.  Today, many of those reasons are gone, especially in the police.  In the military, doctors and hospitals in the frontlines are necessary as battles are usually located in remote locations far from the reaches of medical facilities.  Moreover, war related cases are usually emergency life and death trauma situations and medical intervention usually requires surgery with minutes to spare, thus necessitating dedicated medical personnel for the situation.

But modern day policing environment, especially for the PNP, has no such need anymore.  In this operational condition, the PNPHS was rendered irrelevant and unnecessary.  Moreover, the local government units, that are by law working in partnership with the PNP, are far better equipped than the PNPHS.  Against this backdrop, the PNPHS is reduced to being a white elephant that there was once a time that a sizable number of its doctors and nurses went abroad and for a long time, they were not even missed.  When the racket was uncovered, two line officers who were both PMAyers were assigned to the HS purposely to account for these “missing in action” doctors.

In its website, the PNPHS vision states: "A modern Health Service rendering optimum health care at par with other well known Health institutions in Asia by 20126."  Its mission statement is: "To provide timely, comprehensive and quality health services to PNP personnel, their dependents, and authorized civilians."  So will they be better than the best hospital that the Philippine hospital industry can come up with?  Looking at these statements, the PNPHS betrays the fact that it they themselves do not know that they had lost their relevance.  Health services to policemen nowadays is best dispensed at the numerous public and private hospitals dotting the country as compared to the PNPHS whose main hospital inside Camp Crame is nothing more than a glorified clinic. 

The irrelevance of the PNPHS was further amplified by another factor:  the PNP rank system that gives great weight to length of service in determining seniority.  This leads to the situation that nurses with higher PNP ranks, boss around doctors who have just joined the service.  At the surface, this may not be an issue but talking to the doctors themselves, it is undeniable that efficiency and effectiveness is very much affected.


In page 36 of the 2013 PNP Annual Accomplishment Report, the PNP boasts that a total of 653 personnel were given P 41,550,345.43 as hospital reimbursements.  And I thought that the PNPHS claims to be always right there to serve the PNP?  Using my pulis mateks mateks again, this translates into an average of more than P63K for each of these policemen beneficiaries.  


What do I advocate for the PNP health care system?

1.    First:  Let us put to task the PSMBFI who had made the MANDATORY MONTHLY DEDUCTIONS for the police to look for an HMO partner who will assure payment of hospital bills incurred by PNP personnel all over the Philippines.  Instead of making pakitang tao of donating equipment to the PNP such as computers, PSMBFI management should instead return excess/profit money to the members in the form of health care benefits.  After all, it is the money of the members.  Let the PNP take care of its procurement.  There is more than enough money for that, as Napoles succintly demonstrated.

Actually better than partnering with an HMO, the PSMBI can create a division in its organization specifically for this purpose.

2.    Now that the PNP personnel is out of the way of PNPHS, the unit should be converted into a regular hospital owned by the PNP and operated for profit and ran like a regular hospitals staffed by regular civilian employees.  Thus the stupidity of having an HS Director, DDA, DDO, and CDS running the current hospital is corrected.  For what do you need all these generals and senior superintendents to maintain the health of personnel?

Converting the hospital into a for-profit outfit serves another purpose:  the pay and allowances of its employees can be taken from the earnings of the unit.  This again serves a three-fold purpose:  first, the burden of having the pay and allowances of its personnel in the PNP budget is removed; second, the hospital will be forced to improve its services and compete with other hospitals to ensure its continued operations and financial survival, and third, the profits that the hospital will generate can be used to pay the HMO premium or returned to the PNP to be used in other healthcare needs.

3.    The second reason above is very relevant.  In any service organization, it is always safe to equate efficiency and effectiveness with the trust and confidence of its clientele.  In other words, the more efficient and effective organization commands more trust and confidence from its clientele, right?  Now ask around:  how many PNP personnel will actually bet their life and health to the PNPHS?  Obviously, those 653 personnel who were granted that P41 million refund are not among them!

For why should I trust my life on them?  I have personally seen how one “striker” (errand boy/utility boy) afflicted with dengue and initially brought to the PNPGH almost died after 3 days of neglect in their ward!  If not transferred to San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, the kid died.  The doctors in SLH were in equal parts, aghast, amused, angry, and what have you, when the kid narrated to them the medical intervention he received in the PNPGH.

I have also seen a PCO die in the ER of the PNPHS.  The PCO was hit in the back during an encounter in Cubao one afternoon.  He was immediately rushed to the ER and was promptly pronounced dead on arrival by the doctor on duty using a stethoscope to check for a heartbeat.  Upon the prodding of the companions of the officer who requested the doctor not to easily give up, the doctor half heartedly started cardio resuscitation by pumping the chest of the officer.  For every pump, I can actually see the blood squirt out of the two bullet holes in the back of the patient.  It was found out that his lungs were pierced by the bullets.  I am not a doctor but I have a feeling that the officer did not receive the appropriate emergency care.

I have also received a very substandard dental service in the PNP Dental Service.  For a simple and routine procedure, I ended up nakanganga for almost three hours because they do not have the dental bur long enough to do the job.  Up to this day, I have a funny feeling in my mouth and can almost feel the pain that the procedure inflicted on me.  When I researched how much is a dental burr, I was aghast to find out that it only cost less than a thousand pesos.  If they had only told me beforehand, I could have bought one—or went to another dentist altogether.

There was also a time that I sought advice regarding a condition I am feeling.  The answer I got?  Go see a civilian specialist and a name was actually given to me.  I personally know many personnel in the PNPHS including doctors, nurses, dentists, administrative support staff and many of them I can consider as friends.  But I have to call a spade a spade.

Of course, there are competent doctors in the PNPHS but they cannot shine nor reach their potential in such a highly structured and restrictive environment where seniority is usually based on the length of service.  But undoubtedly, the PNPHS also has its share of a confirmed neurotic doctor in the person of then PCI Renato Poscablo who shot his boss and hurled a grenade ironically during the 13th Anniversary Celebration of the PNPHS at the Multi Purpose Hall of Camp Crame.

Though admittedly I cannot cite empirical data to support my claim that the PNPHS does not enjoy the support and confidence of its clientele, a simple random survey of personnel will show that I am not alone or in the minority with this feeling.  Actually, a simple question will highlight the stark reality:  who is the general or any senior officer that you know who went to the PNPGH for treatment of a condition that required hospital admission?  Name one.  I cannot for I never knew one. 

Even its Director, PCSUPT Federico Damatac was rushed to St. Luke's Hospital in E Rodriguez Avenue, a good 5 kilometers away and in Manila's traffic, not less than 30 minutes of travel when he was shot by Poscablo, in the Multi Purpose Hall of Camp Crame, a stones throw away from the PNPGH.  Ironically, Poscablo the criminal was treated at the PNPGH--and both of them have the same injuries:  gunshots.
(read here the story:

If the Health Service Director himself would not trust his life to his biggest hospital, how much more the other policemen?

(This article is still in draft.  Please place your inputs in the comment section below)

Friday, April 25, 2014

PNP Reforms (A continuing article). Part 4a – Deactivation or Reorganization of Outdated NSUs (CIDG)

Abolition of outdated support units is actually in the back of the minds of not only a few senior officers.  But nobody dares to broach the idea for various reasons—not the least of which is that these NSUs are money making NSUs with great powers but have virtually no accountability or responsibility to the public.  Their only accountability and responsibility is to the Chief PNP and it is usually all about MONEY.  Because of this, most of the time, the Directors appointed to these units are the fair haired boys of the CPNP or the President himself.  Ok let me start the fire!  Hahahaha!

On top of this list is the CIDG.  From its website, these are the basic facts about CIDG (I cut and paste thus got all the errors in toto):

“Since the beginning, the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) formerly known as the Criminal Investigation Service (CIS) of the then Philippine constabulary (PC) during the Martial Law years, has been at the forefront of the country's formidable war against all forms of crimes and criminality.

From January 19, 1950, the CIDG like any other operating arm of the Philippines National Police, has undergone changes in its nomenclature, i.e.., from CIS to Criminal Investigation Service Command (CISC) to Crimiinal (sic) Investigation Command (CIC) to Criminal Investigation Group (CIG) and finally, the Criminal Investigation Detection Group (CIDG).

All its past Chief and Directors, including the present Command Group, have by far, contributed wholeheartedly to the fulfillment of its vision, mission and function at the extreme sacrifice of life and limb. Their combined efforts have made the CIDG a formidable and vaunted fighting until that it is today. It has maintained and lived up to its prestige as the premier investigative arm of the Philippine National Police, mandated to combat crimes and safeguard our national democracy, peace and order.
From this introduction alone, it can be gleaned that CIDG considers itself as a demigod organization within the PNP but almost bigger than the PNP itself and definitely bigger than any line unit of the PNP.


Free from politics, ininterrupted (sic) by territorial limitations and countrywide in scope, the CIDG performs the following missions:

1. To undertake the monitoring, investigation and prosecution of all crimes involving economic savotage (sic) and other crimes of such magnitude and extent as to indicate their commission by highly-placed professional syndicates or organizations; and,

2. To investigate all major cases involving violation of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) and to conduct operations against organized crime groups (OCGs), unless the president assigns the case exclusively to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Here in its mission statement, the CIDG acknowledges that the crimes that they investigate may be assigned to the NBI, which I believe should be done by the NBI.  What are the examples of these “crimes involving economic savotage (sic) and other crimes of such magnitude and extent as to indicate their commission by highly-placed professional syndicates or organizations?” Smuggling, bank robbery, jueteng, human trafficking, carnapping, white slavery, bank frauds, etc.  Let us just take the two most common:  jueteng and bank robbery.  Both these crimes are very much alive in our midst as you read this blog.  And there is a one strike policy for territorial commanders:  a bank robbery occurs in a town, the COP gets the axe.  So is with jueteng.  A raid against a bolahan turns out positive, the COP gets the boot.  But where was CIDG when bank robbery occurred with regularity during the height of Kuratong Baleleng?  Up to now, jueteng is very much alive nationwide.  Where is CIDG?  Have we heard of CIDG getting the blame for a very bad peace and order situation in a locality or even nationwide?  This is my main beef:  they have all the powers, but have little or almost no responsibility at all.  Even if all banks in Metro Manila gets robbed in a single day, no blame will be laid on CIDG.  It is the NCRPO Director who will get the blame.  Let’s face it: CIDG is just another “butas” in the payola of the purveyors of illegal trade.  For so long a time, we know that CIDG is on the take from almost all illegalistas:  jueteng, ukay ukay, paihi, hired killers, and even drugs.  It is only during bukulan that they make a show of cleaning up their ranks as shown by the recent raid where they nabbed their Provincial Officer of Pampanga. 


The CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION AND DETECTION GROUP is committed to a vision of a dynamic, responsible and well-equipped primary investigative arm manned by the best qualified and highly-motivated professionals in search of truth and justice.
(To be more effective and create a bigger impact, why do these “highly-motivated professionals” not ask to be assigned to the local units?  Truth and justice is for the whole PNP in general to find and defend and not of a sub unit only.  They want authority?  Then take responsibility.  Go local.)

1.  Monitors, iinvestigates (sic) and prosecutes all crime involving economic sabotage like bank frauds, large scale smuggling, estafa, dollar salting, hoarding, profiteering and other crimes of such magnitude and extent as to indicate their commission by highly placed or Professional syndicates and organizations.
(NBI will be more effective here because being under the DOJ, it has closer proximity to the other attached agencies especially Bureau of Immigration.)

2.  Investigates all major cases involving vioation (sic) of the Revised Penal Code
(Investigation is the job of the PNP as a whole.  How do you define major and minor?  Is murder major or minor?  How many murders are committed and how many of these are investigated by the CIDG?  Often, the presence of CIDG causes conflict with the local police.  Instead of helping, nakakagulo pa minsan.  In sensational crimes like murder of a high profile personality, the PNP can form a temporary task force--which it is doing now--to be disbanded upon completion of its mission.)

3.  Conducts operations againstnotorious (sic) wanted persons and organized crime group particularly those engaged in armed robbery, kidnapping-for-ransom, gun-for-hire and illegal possession and trafficking of firearms and explosives.
(Let the local police where these people operate take charge.  If their operations cross boundaries, create a temporary task force or let the NBI take over.  The US does this.)

4.  Provide direct support to the PNP field units in the investigation and solution of major crimes especially those requiring specialized investigative techniques and intensive follow-up.
(Support pala e bakit more often than not e nakikipag agawan ang CIDG?  Moreover, if only the PNP empowers all investigators to be competent in their jobs, there will be no more need for another unit looking over their shoulders when they go to the field.)

5.  Investigates cases involving violations of Special Laws, which are expressly assigned to the group such as Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices, Illegal Recruitment and Illegal Possession/Trafficking of Firearms and Explosives.
(Another list for the NBI.  These are crimes that need intensive and specialized resource and skills.  Let the NBI do this.  These are rarely life and death emergency situations like a jeepney robbery.  Kulang na nga pulis sa kalsada, nakakamot pa kayo ng bayag nyo sa mga opisina nyo.)

6.  Assist in the prosecution of cases investigated by the group and in the crime prevention effort of the PNP Field Units.
(Crime prevention is best done by patrolling.  Have you seen CIDG people doing patrolling?)

7.  Identifies documents and investigates the atrocities committed by the CPP/NPA/NDF and file criminal cases with the Civil Courts and Commision (sic) on Human Rights
(The PNP needs a whole separate unit for this?  A small team in the DIDM can do this.)

8. Performs such other functions as the higher authorities may direct.
 (Like tong collection…)

Postscript:  And this is the premier investigation unit of the PNP?  Website pa lang e ang dami nang mali mali.  How can you convince people that you are thorough and meticulous in your investigation e itong website nyo di na nga maayos ang pagkagawa?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

PNP Reforms (A continuing article). Part 3 – Core Competencies and Specialized Skills

In Part 2 of this continuing article, I discussed rationalization of ranks to make the organization more responsive.  In this installment, I will discuss the indispensable partner of rationalization:  competencies and skills.  Once the rank profile is simplified, it is mandatory that minimum standards be set for every rank.  These standards should be met by all police officers holding that rank and anyone failing it must be dealt with accordingly and if necessary, separated from the service or demoted to the rank where his competencies fit.  The specialized skills on the other hand must be used for positioning purposes.  Specialized skills should be that X-factor that will determine who holds what, especially in the highly specialized positions such as intelligence and investigation. 

Competencies and skills must progress as the rank of a policeman goes higher.  It is expected that higher ranking personnel shall be the role models of lower ranking personnel.  It is therefore also expected that they know everything there is to know in their rank.  Higher ranking personnel must be able to properly and confidently teach and demonstrate to their subordinates these skills and knowledge if the situation calls for it.

So without much further ado, let me start at the bottom of the food chain.

Police Officers – Police officers are the work horses of the PNP.  As the lowest ranking people, they perform the brunt of frontline activities such as patrolling, investigation, civil disturbance management and the likes.  As such, every policeman is a show window of the Philippine National Police, thus they must be an epitome of excellence, knowledge, and professionalism as conceived in the different image and credibility enhancement programs of the PNP.

In a previous article, I mentioned a popular passage that every trainee is required to memorize in recruit training.  It is entitled, "The Good Policeman" and it goes, "The citizen expects policemen to have the wisdom of Solomon, the courage of David, the strength of Samson, the patience of Job, the leadership of Moses, the kindness of the Good Samaritan, the faith of Daniel, the tolerance of the Carpenter of Nazareth, and the intimate knowledge of every branch of the natural, biological, and social sciences.  If he had all these, he ‘might’ be a good policeman."  While this quote may sound exaggerated, a closer look shows that it jibes perfectly with that famous line of Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  Couple this with the lighthearted—but generally true—saying that goes, “Next to God is the policeman,” it is but natural to require that policemen have with them at all times the competencies that shall temper those vast powers that they wield.

To be credible in what he does, a policeman must always project confidence in his competence and abilities—and the only way to be confident is to have an absolute understanding of the job, based on a solid foundation of basic theories and skills.  A clear and solid understanding of the basics cultivates a habit.  Good habits become the foundation of a good perspective.  With a good perspective, a policeman then develops a good personal system that always activates once he suits up to face another day.  A good personal system makes a good policeman.

One of the best indicators of competence of a policeman (and any person in general) is the amount of knowledge he carries with him in his head and the skills he carries in his person.  Knowing basic police knowledge such as procedures, laws, and other miscellaneous items by heart enables a policeman to be always aware of his duties, responsibilities, and most importantly, his limitations.  Moreover, having the skills enables the policeman to confidently discharge his duties and responsibilities based on the knowledge that he has.  Many wrongdoings could be avoided if only policemen are discerning enough to recognize the possible consequences of their actions and the skills to execute what has to be done—and discernment and skills commences in clear understanding of facts.

Let us now examine what current regulations say as qualifications of a PNP applicant.  The qualifications are actually spelled out in the law creating the PNP.  As required by Section 30 of RA 6975 it says that an applicant for PO1 must be:
  1. A citizen of the Philippines;
  2. A person of good moral character;
  3. Must have passed the Physical Agility Test, Neuro-Psychological Examination, General Physical and Dental Examination as well as Drug Test to be administered by the PNP for the purpose of determining physical and mental health;
  4. Must possess a formal baccalaureate degree from a recognized institution of learning;
  5. Must be eligible in accordance with the standards set by NAPOLCOM;
  6. Must have not been dishonorably discharged from military employment or dismissed for cause from any civilian position in the government;
  7. Must have not been convicted by final judgment of an offense or crime involving moral turpitude;
  8. Must be at least one meter and sixty-two centimeters (1.62 m.) in height for male and one meter and fifty-seven centimeters (1.57 m.) for female;
  9. Must not weigh not more or less five kilograms (5 kgs.) than the standard weight corresponding to his or her height, age, and sex; and
  10. Must not be less than twenty-one (21) nor more than thirty (30) years of age upon take oath
Here is one caveat:  Section 30 of RA 6975 was amended by Section 1 of RA 9708 which added a very crucial phrase:

Except for the last qualification, the above-enumerated qualifications shall be continuing in character and an absence of any one of them at any given time shall be a ground for separation or retirement from the service: Provided, that PNP members who are already in the service upon the effectively of RA 8551 shall be given at least two (2) years to obtain the minimum education qualification and one (1) year to satisfy the weight requirement.

Item 9 is very clear.  There is a weight requirement for all policemen. The average height of policemen is around 5’7”.  According to the most popular sources, the standard weight of this height is 60 to 74 kgs.  Viola!  It is very simple to attrite overweight policemen.
Once these applicants become full-fledged members of the PNP as Police Officers, at the very minimum, they must have the basic skills.  They must know how to:
  1. Patrol and make a coherent report about their patrol activities
  2. Use their firearms safely and accurately in accordance to PNP Standards
  3. Investigate properly in accordance to the PNP Investigation Manual of the DIDM
  4. Direct traffic properly
  5. Keep themselves physically fit and pass the periodic Physical Fitness Test
Senior Police Officer – An SPO is expected to posses all the PO competencies and skills and must be able to guide the POs under his care in polishing their skills.  While he is not expected to teach and demonstrate these skills to his subordinates, he is expected to guide them in acquiring the correct reference materials and resource persons for their self improvement.  He must also be able to act as a good role model of the POs in the field.  He knows how to supervise and conduct on-the-spot corrections as necessary.

Inspector – An Inspector is also expected to possess all the SPO and PO competencies and skills.  They are the frontline supervisors who directly come in contact with the populace thus it is expected that inspectors are exceptionally skilled policemen.  Most importantly, his skills must be at DEMONSTRATION QUALITY that he can confidently teach and demonstrate these skills to the POs and SPOs as necessary.  As such, he must be able to act as instructor in regular Saturday PI and Es and career courses.  In short, he can act as instructor in basic training anytime.

At this juncture of the their career, Inspectors must experience being a witness in court.  Simple as may seem, this requirement will force the officers to 
Simple no? But you will be surprised if I tell you that MAJORITY OF THE PNP PCOs AND MANY PNCOs RETIRE FROM THE SERVICE AFTER 35 YEARS OF DUTY WITHOUT EVER SITTING IN THE WITNESS STAND!  Try it yourself:  ask a group of 10 policemen how many of them experienced being a witness and I will tell you that you yourself will be surprised by the results!  I believe that experience is the best teacher but many policemen had been evading her classes!  The sad part of this picture is that many of these evaders are the ones who get ahead because they are inside the kitchen--aide de camps, finance and budget officers, logistics officers, administrative officers, etc.  These are the people who are in the airconditioned rooms and when the time comes for them to become commanders like chiefs of police, provincial directors, and regional directors, they bluff their way through their job.  Kawawa naman ang PNP sa ganitong sistema.  Look at the good commanders and the mediocre ones.  You will almost inevitably see the difference in their backgrounds, especially the staff assignments that they held before they became commanders.

Superintendent – A Superintendent is expected to possess all the competencies of the Inspector, SPO, and PO.  In addition, he is expected to have the skills to “train the trainors.”  His skills and knowledge are in such level that he can teach the Inspectors how to effectively teach their subordinates.  In short, he can act as an instructor in a trainor’s training or act as course director and ensure that current knowledge and skills are effectively passed to younger generations and kept up to date in this evolving operational environment.

At this juncture of their career, Superintendents need an indispensable skill in this fast advancing digital age:  above average computer skills.  As mid-level managers, Superintendents is the bridge between the policy makers and the ground level implementers and frontline personnel.  Most of the time, they need to localize national policies to be responsive to their operational environment.  Likewise, they also need to interface with other stakeholders such as local government officials, the media, lobby groups, and what have you.  To be effective in this job, they need a vast amount of data to ensure that they are updated with the latest developments both locally, nationally, and internationally.  Especially during media appearances such as field interviews, Superintendents must be articulate enough to ensure that they are effective mouthpieces of the organization.  And rarely one can be articulate if he is just bluffing his way.  One of the best way to be updated is regular access to the biggest library in the world today—the internet.

Superintendents, especially those designated as Chiefs of Police, Provincial or Regional Directors, also need to periodically present data and reports to various stakeholders.  Most commonly, this is done with a Powerpoint presentation as visual aid.  It is therefore mandatory for the Superintendents to be well versed with this software.  As I personally observe now, not a few Superintendents are actually REFUSING to learn this software because of two very common reasons:

1.    There are PNCOs that can make the presentation for them;
2.    They are afraid that if they get so good in Powerpoint, other senior officers will take advantage of them and they will be asked again and again to make their presentations for them.

Both reasons I find unacceptable in so many ways.

The first reason is pure katamaran.  I would love to retort, “then let us designate that PNCO as the Chief of Police” because as officers, if you cannot make your own presentation, you better stick to jobs that will not require you to make your presentations—like being a patrol team leader.  Some will say that the COPs have so many other things to do and making their own presentation will eat up a lot of their time.  This is bullshit because I have been there and have done that.  Having a PNCO to draft the presentation may be acceptable but to make him do everything especially the assessment, recommendations, and strategic directions, that is pure indolence.  Moreover, having so many PNCOs doing administrative work adversely impacts on police visibility in the streets.

The second reason is indolence at its worst.  Officers refusing to learn something new because they do not want more responsibilities is the main reason why the PNP stagnated to the level it is in now.  But these same officers are crowding each other to be field commanders.  When they are commanders, what are they going to do?  Be indolent too of course!

Director – Actually I believe that bahala na si Magellan na pumili ng mga Directors from the ranks of the Superintendents.  At this level, policies are made and we cannot take that away from our elected officials, thus, it has to be emphasized that the thinking of the Directors must be in sync with the civil policy makers.  This is where the career of policemen as a professional officer ends and his career as a political animal starts.  If he does not want to be in this position, then he can remain in the Superintendent ranks and occupy positions available for him.

Anyway, I believe that with a solid foundation at the base and middle level supervisors, incompetent top leaders can do little to sabotage the over all operation of the organization.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Values: Stealing from Victims of Accident

Values:  Do we still have it?

Break muna tayo sa isyung pulis.  Eto muna dahil isa ito sa mga panahong tinatanong ko ang sarili ko kung gusto ko pa nga bang maging Pilipino.  Natanong ko na naman ang sarili ko kung may pag-asa pa ba ang Pilipinas bilang bansa.

MANILA. Philippines – A woman was killed after she was hit by a Victory Liner bus, which eventually fell off a ravine in Olongapo City.  About 50 passengers of the bus were injured.  The bus reportedly swerved to avoid hitting a pedestrian woman on the street in purok (subvillage) 12, barangay (village) Old Cabalan around 5 p.m.  But the woman was still struck by the bus and died on the spot, reports added.  The injured were brought to the James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Now you might be wondering: what about this accident I am about to rail about?  Accidents like these happen all too often anyway.  Well, what many viewers of the giant TV networks may not have known, this report was first broken to mainstream news media over DZXL 558 KHz on the AM band by a FOCAP photographer who happened to pass by the area minutes after the accident.  The fotog is just a passerby and not in anyway on the job at that time.  But being the journalist that he is, he stopped by to help the victims.  Afterwards, he went on his way and apparently he knows the anchor of the airing program in DZXL thus he reported it as breaking news. I personally heard it over DZXL while driving at about 6PM yesterday, April 21, 2014.  So where is my beef?

The one thing that was not mentioned in the subsequent reports of mainstream television stations GMA 7 and ABS-CBN is the one thing that struck me most in the report of that FOCAP guy.  According to him, "“THE MAIN COMPLAINT OF THE PASSENGERS OF THE VICTORY BUS WERE NOT THEIR INJURIES (AS MOST OF THEM SUFFERED ONLY MINORS ONES), BUT THE FACT THAT THEY LOST MANY OF THEIR BELONGINGS TO LOOTERS WHO CAME PURPORTEDLY TO HELP BUT INSTEAD HELPED THEMSELVES ON THE VALUABLES OF THE VICTIMS.”  This phenomenon is actually nothing new.  I once passed by a car that slammed into a lamp post in Paco, Manila because the driver lost control.  The driver was injured and he was semi conscious because of his injuries.  Seconds after the accident, I saw the squatters—two whole families; parents with their children in tow totaling to about eight persons—swarm over the car not to help the driver but rather to inspect it for whatever valuables they can steal.  And steal they almost did.  I nearly shot one of the teenagers because he was about to run away with the bag of the man—with the goading of his father.  That driver was lucky that I was there (ehem!) otherwise, he would have lost everything.

Looting an accident victim is the height of anarchy.  Once we go down to this level, our major difference from most of the other creatures in the animal kingdom is lost.  Yes, there are some policemen who are also guilty of this, but the organization is unforgiving on them.  I hope that this phenomenon, by and large, is not an accurate reflection of our society in general.  But evidence suggests otherwise.

In mainstream TV and radio stations, an act of honesty of a lowly employee like a janitor, lavandera, or a taxi driver is praised to high heavens.  What gives?  Returning an item or money left by your client is not only a moral obligation, but it is required by law because doing otherwise is criminal.  The Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code states: 

Art. 308. Who are liable for theft. — Theft is committed by any person who, with intent to gain but without violence against or intimidation of persons nor force upon things, shall take personal property of another without the latter's consent.

Theft is likewise committed by:

1. Any person who, having found lost property, shall fail to deliver the same to the local authorities or to its owner;

But praise them to high heavens we do.  While the act of praising them may encourage others to follow suit, unwittingly, we are saying that the general norm in our society today is “finders are keepers” and if you do not subscribe to it and return the item you found, you are the exception that needs to be praised.

And that is about simple lost and found yet.  Stealing from an accident victim is even far more heinous.  Article 310 of the Revised Penal Code has this to say:

Art. 310. Qualified theft. — The crime of theft shall be punished by the penalties next higher by two degrees than those respectively specified in the next preceding article, if committed by a domestic servant, or with grave abuse of confidence, or if the property stolen is motor vehicle, mail matter or large cattle or consists of coconuts taken from the premises of the plantation or fish taken from a fishpond or fishery, or if property is taken on the occasion of fire, earthquake, typhoon, volcanic erruption, or any other calamity, vehicular accident or civil disturbance. (As amended by R.A. 120 and B.P. Blg. 71. May 1, 1980).

But Filipinos steal if given a chance…office workers mooching on office bond papers to use for the projects of their children, laborers stealing construction materials from sites, waiters and dishwashers packing good food in water tight plastic bags and dropping them with trash to be retrieved later, drivers of fuel lorries passing by "paihi stations" before delivering their cargo to the clients, homeowners and PTA officers engaging in payroll padding of security guards or employing unlicensed guards and agencies to get a lower rate.  The examples cut across the whole spectrum of the Philippine society, from top level officials down to the lowliest lowlife...

So do we still wonder why our high officials entrusted with government funds steal it if given a chance?

Or is it because our leaders are thieves themselves that the ordinary folks are just following suit?

Hay, Pilipinas kong mahal…

PNP Reforms (A continuing article). Part 2 – Rationalization of the Rank System

The second thing that I will do is a little bit more complicated.  I will move for the amendment of the enabling law and simplify the ranking system of the PNP.  History shows that the PNP was created under the DILG and removed from the AFP where its forerunner, the Philippine Constabulary was a part of.  Among the reasons given was to “civilianize” the organization and remove its military roots.  But as it stands now, only the name appears to have changed and many others remained the same.  Among the best examples of this is the rank system.  Except for the 1st and 2nd Lieutenants which is equivalent to Inspector, all ranks in the AFP have exact equivalents in the PNP, including the insignia (except for the design of course).  This may have worked for the AFP where the hierarchical structure is rigid and seniority is almost always observed considering that in times of battle, clear and well defined command lines is a premium.  But I seriously doubt if it is actually suited for the PNP because the PNP is a very dynamic and multifaceted organization.  It is battling not only on one front at any given time but rather, it is in almost all facets of government peace and order operations all at the same time.  Even in non-peace and order concerns, the PNP has a habit dipping its fingers in (not that it lacks responsibilities but rather, so many PNP leaders past and present had acquired that taste of doing their job in front of the camera rather than in the background.  So before, the PNP is mostly in patrol, investigation, traffic, and community relations, the PNP now does tree planting as an organizational obligation and search and rescue as its primary role during calamities instead of focusing on its main job of maintaining peace and order.  (I will write about this later).

Back to the ranks.  The current rank system is not working both in the officer and non-officers ranks because there are just too many ranks.  In the non-officer ranks, there is the PO1 to PO3 and the SPO1 to SPO4.  For the officers, there are 9 ranks from Inspector to Director General reserved for the Chief PNP.  In the PNP today, officers get promoted to the next higher rank once he applies for it, he meets the eligibility requirements, and he is holding a T.O. position. (not a few will say that you also need a political patron to be promoted).  The last requirement, the T.O. is actually of recent origins and is designed to control promotions of officers because the organization is becoming top-heavy.  This is actually a tacit recognition that there is a problem in the rank profile of the organization.  But the solution is a square peg for a round hole.  This requirement did not prevent the Supt and Sr Supt ranks from swelling.  If you ask the griping PNPAs, you will even hear grievances like “para sa PNPA lang yan.  Pag PMA, mapopromote yan kahit walang T.O” or “gagawa sila ng T.O. para sa bata nila at pagkatapos magamit ay hindi na pupwede”.  But that is not my focus here.  I will discuss that in another article.

The T.O. requirement opened the system wherein officers occupy an “entry level” position (usually a rotting staff or deputy position) to get the rank.  After promotion, he then leaves the position and occupies an exclusive position (usually a perky command).  Now the problem starts when these officers occupying the exclusive positions are relieved.  These positions are finite in number and the number of qualified officers continue to swell until it exceeds those available positions, thus what happens?  Senior officers are placed in "floating" status with no clear job description, but all the while receiving full pay and allowances.  If this is not a waste of government resources, I do not know what it is.  This list of floating people includes Chief Superintendents despite the creation of the DIPOs, which is yet another square peg in another round hole, and the adjustment of positions so that the rank requirements are increased.  The last one is especially crazy.  The move to increase the rank of DRDAs into Chief Superintendents created the now familiar sight of having two star-ranked officers in a very small conference room regularly talking about trivial matters that even field grade officers of the past can decide upon.  It cheapened the value of the rank.

So what do I exactly propose?  Simplify the Ranks of the PNP.  PO1 to PO3 should be simply bunched into Police Officers, SPO1 to SPO4 as Senior Police Officers, Inspector to Chief Inspector as Inspectors, and Superintendent to Chief Superintendent as Superintendents.  At the Director level, “Bahala na si Magellan” because this is the policy making level reserved for the politician-turned policeman.  For the officer ranks in general, this will be very beneficial, although the tamad and malalaking ulong senior officers will object to this.  This is because in this system, Superintendents can occupy positions from Chief of Police of Class D municipalities up to Directors of a Regional Office.  This way, the PNP can get rid of floating officers without stepping on their pride.  Actually, I have known fine officers who were very competent in ground level operations, leading a unit of 50 personnel.  However, the organization promoted them to higher positions because of their seniority.  Alas in the end, they were promoted to a level where they proved to be incompetent, well, because of a variety of factors, not the least of which is their inherent capacities and native talents and interests.  Had they not been promoted, they could have continued to productively serve the PNP as middle level supervisors.  But in the current system, a Senior Superintendent cannot be a Chief of Police of a component city anymore.  A Chief Superintendent cannot be Provincial Director anymore.  And I have seen Senior Superintendents who would have been happier as chiefs of police and Chief Superintendents who are best suited for provincial commands.  If these officers were given the positions suited for them without affecting their pride and morale, they can still be productive members of the organization.  But the current system prevents this positioning, thus many of these senior officers are instead in floating status because there are no more positions for them to assume.

This system, coupled with the core competencies and the specialized skills that I will discuss in Part 3 of this series, will highlight capabilities and experience in promotion and positioning.

This will also lessen the talk about crispy patas and the fried chickens.