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How PNP Could’ve Handled Its Latest Crisis

Hours ago, videos circulated online wherein a Philippine National Police (PNP) vehicle ran over some protesters—something that should not happen under any circumstance.


I’m no expert, but I think people expect their officials to handle such an incident with care and speed. How PNP officials handled the whole thing, however, leaves much to be desired.


Subsequent news reports (and the accompanying outrage in various Facebook pages) about PNP and the event don’t help the organization any.


How The Event Transpired


According to the news, groups of people rallied at the US Embassy in Manila to protest American intervention in the Philippines. Reports said protesters were going to conclude their rally when police began to disperse the former.


Expectedly, a clash occurred. Police set off tear gas, while some protesters threw paint bombs and rocks. And then the unthinkable occurred: someone drove a police vehicle that ran over some people.


Bad enough the driver controlled the vehicle to go backwards when it overran some individuals, but the person then drove it forward that went over other people who tried to block it.


It’s a miracle that nobody died. Still, the fact that someone drove over scores of people was enough to draw outrage.


How A PNP Official Responded


Just when the thing couldn’t get any bad, looks like it got a bit worse if going by news stories as they publish.


One Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) story caught my eye: a PNP official responded to PDI via text message. Part of the person’s response?

 

Hindi naman sila sinagasaan (They weren’t run over). The rallyists were trying to flip over the patrol car.

 

Um, didn’t look that way from the number of videos about the incident.


If the comments in media outfits’ and individuals’ social media accounts are any indication, plenty of people raged about the event. I won’t be surprised if that rage grew when the police official’s response came out in the news.


(Some media professionals I learned from have a term for that police official’s response: tone-deaf, meaning that person doesn’t understand—much more appreciate—other people’s concerns or difficulties.)


How the PNP Can Respond


Or maybe should, though that’s up to the PNP.


Granted, the PNP has no easy way to handle this kind of situation. What I’m about to suggest is also easier said than done, even though I base much of that on my work experiences and lessons I learned from other people in other disciplines.


The first thing PNP can do is to acknowledge the incident despite how it happened. In my experience of doing customer service for some online companies, people want someone to acknowledge their problems or incidents that affected them. They want to be acknowledged, to be heard, to know that someone actually cares somehow despite how they feel.


The police here can acknowledge the fact that someone (one of theirs as other videos later showed) drove the vehicle that injured people, rather than maybe deny especially when “evidence” shows otherwise.


I understand some people won’t be too happy when I say this, but acknowledging an incident doesn’t always equate to admitting fault. An idea here is one should let others know he or she is at least aware of the situation.


But yes, one ought to acknowledge his or her fault and even apologize for it if ever—which looks like a must in this case.


The next thing for police is, of course, to do something that can regain the public’s trust. Again, easier said than done especially when the public seems cynical towards the government. Who can blame them?


What I suggest next is perhaps a bold one for PNP: announce a temporary suspension of sorts for those involved (or put whoever in “floating status” as our police officials usually say for such a situation.)


Two reasons for the above suggestion. One, that action shows the police know what they’re doing while acknowledging the public’s sentiment. Two, it displays some degree of accountability that people expect of those in government.


And of course, police should investigate this incident and ensure the victims receive care.


I doubt I need to suggest this to PNP, but they ought to provide a full report in public at the soonest possible time. The sooner they complete their investigation, the sooner they can report about it, the sooner they can (re)assure the public can trust the organization despite what happened.


On that note, I also suggest PNP hire a communications or media professional if they haven’t. Preferably, a person or a group specializing in crisis communications and management. Looks like they need one, though hopefully not for “spinning” an event unfavorable to them.


How To Bring All This Together


PNP, or pretty much any organization for that matter, has lots of lessons any of them can take from this latest crisis.


Especially when a crisis occurs that has a material effect on people, an organization should acknowledge the situation. Then, that organization should apologize especially if an investigation shows the former has some responsibility. Last but not least is to act on the situation that shows one addresses it or does something, whatever “it” is.


Other news reports show the President—despite being in China—is aware of the situation, something the police can (or should?) handle without any prompt from higher-up.


Again, I acknowledge that PNP here has no easy solution for this incident. If history is any indication, however, the organization is no stranger to such a thing.


Update
: National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) relieves nine officers involved in the incident.

 

———————————————————————————-

Some Sources:

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/827077/police-denies-running-over-protesters-at-us-embassy
http://www.rappler.com/nation/149646-dispersal-protest-us-embassy-manila
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/827686/duterte-orders-probe-on-violent-us-embassy-dispersal
http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2016/10/19/Militants-police-clash-outside-the-U.S.-Embassy.html
http://www.rappler.com/nation/149738-manila-cops-administratively-relieved-clash-us-embassy

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Blog Policies

My New and First Comment Policy

I’ll make my comment policy as clear and simple as I can. When circumstances and time allow, I’ll put out a more comprehensive version in the future.

Alright, here’s the policy.

1. Be respectful. Disagree if you want, but show respect—especially if you want others to show you the same.

2. Don’t spam.

3. Don’t post hateful comments, especially when using an alias. I might delete such comments without warning.

4. Expect a ban if you insist on violating #3.

5. Contact me here if you have questions or concerns. I respond when I can, so expect a delay—or even none.

And most important of all:

Think before you click.

Unlike a conversation in person, all of us have plenty of time to think before we speak. Or click in this case.

I will update my comment policy as time goes by. Things change, after all, and so must each of us.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed as a saying goes. Thus, consider yourself such.

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Opinions

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Been 24 years since you left, Ma. How time flies talaga.

 

I’ll remember the times you loved and put up with me, no ifs ands or buts. Even when I was being bratty or whatevs at certain times, you were just there. Listening, counseling, hugging, even joking.

 

And yes, I’ll also remember the times you punished me. I deserve those punishments anyway, hehe, and I know they were for a good reason.

 

Sometimes, I wish you’re still here. I’d love to see you teach my daughter Kitty how to play the piano. I’m sure that most, if not all, people I’d intro to you would love you on the spot.

 

I once read that a mother is a child’s best friend. Personally, I agree.

 

From you, I learned love, patience, and understanding. Qualities I (try to) extend to others. I don’t always get them right, but you know I’ll always give them a shot — especially towards the people I care.

 

(To those who don’t have good experiences with their moms: I pray that things will work out for you both. Hang in there.)

 

Today’s mom’s day. Let’s honor them, today and beyond.

 

Te amo, Ma. No te olvidare.

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Opinions

A Life Lesson Learned From A TV Horror Series

Sometimes, you learn from an unlikely source what you later consider an important life lesson.

 

That unlikely source can be a person, a book, or even an experience someplace. In my case, I learned that lesson from — of all sources — a TV horror series.

 

Before I reveal that important life lesson, however, let me share a few things about that TV show. The show is called Friday the 13th, the series.

 

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(No, not about that tall guy with a hockey mask and a machete.)

 

Friday the 13th, the series is about three people on a quest to retrieve “cursed” antiques and lock them away for good. These antiques grant certain powers to their users, but only after being used to kill other people. In many episodes of the series, these users later become victims of those items.

 

One episode features an antique jack-in-the-box that a dad gifts his young girl before his murder. The girl later discovers that the box, upon using it to kill someone, lets her see and communicate with her dad’s spirit.

 

Alas, the girl uses the box a couple of times after.

 

At some point in the episode, the girl’s dad tells her to get rid of the box (after maybe realizing what it does). However, she justifies using it by saying she misses him and doesn’t feel her mom’s love. She and her mom, during that time, argue a lot.

 

The girl complains to her dad that his having died is not fair. He responds that everyone dies.

 

Then, he adds: 

 

That’s why you have to make the most of the time you have with mom.

 

Little did I know that that line will stick to me afterwards.

 

(The episode is online somewhere if you really want to see it. Just search for something like “Friday the 13th episode jack in the box”.)

 

Why the line of that episode stuck to me, I didn’t know back then.

 

 The Lesson That I Learned

 

Only through time, particularly when my mom died when I was 15, did I know — and then learn an important lesson from that episode.

 

The lesson?

 

You make the most of the time you have.

 

Because let’s face it: life isn’t always fair. At least, life won’t always turn out the way we expect of it.

 

I certainly didn’t expect my mom to go so soon. Then again, neither did anyone as far as I know.

 

(As an aside, Dad would later tell me that he and mom learned she only had a few years to live. He said mom’s doctor gave her about 12 years at most. As things turned out, she lived for 15.)

 

Essentially, mom made the most of her remaining time with everyone. Me, dad, my siblings, everyone all of us knew.

 

I can’t thank her enough for all the time she spent with us.

 

No question that all of us will go someday. In that case, we better make the most of our time in this world.

 

Perhaps make the most of that time to try something we’ve always wanted to.

 

Maybe make the most of that time to resolve whatever issues or settle whatever differences we have with others. Granted, neither of those is necessarily easy.

 

I honestly don’t know if I’ll able to do any, all that, or more.

 

Still, I’ll give those a shot. And then some. And then some more, especially when it helps somebody.

 

After all, you only live once. Or YOLO as some youngsters say (though within reason, please).

 

How I, you, or anyone else will live that life is up to each of us. Make it good, and make the best and most of it.

 

Kinda funny that a TV horror series would essentially teach me some lesson about life. That’s life, I suppose.

 

Trusting this helps.

 

      Credit: Tov Mauzer
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Opinions

Happy New Year!

ID-100294184 New year, new start.

Dunno how I’ll make this year any different from the previous ones, but I can at least try.

Granted, I didn’t really achieve my past year’s two resolutions (and those are just two). I can rationalize all I want why I didn’t achieve them, but it won’t change the fact that I just didn’t.

Despite what happened last year and those before, I intend to make this different. How to make that happen is probably THE question.

The how is maybe easy to figure out. More importantly, I think, is ensuring I do the how.

Well, here’s to a different year. Let’s do this.

(Photo credit: Stuart Miles)