Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

NEXT TIME

Posted: October 28, 2010 in Politics

I don’t really wanna do it but I was forced to do so, good thing it was just fast and it led to some funny moments along the way.

My second time to vote, this time in a barangay election was relatively easier and peaceful, ironic since this election did not promise PCOS machines to save the day. I felt guilty and a bit ashamed because I am familiar (and a critic actually) of national politics and its characters but I don’t even know even a single local politician in my area. I made this as a lame excuse to my Daddy for not having any plans to vote but this crappy excuse was answered as he hand me a list of who to vote since my Daddy is one of the campaign managers of a local party. As I open the paper, yes, it was a “vote-straight” thing and all I know that day was I would vote strangers and I was a zombie voter. Yes, I was and still am guilty about it.

My first time to vote was last May 2010 National and Presidential Elections (see related post) and it was six loooong hours under the sun’s heat but this October 2010 elections was only an amazing-record-breaking five minutes and the ugly ink was in my fingers. The threat of cheating, however, is more probable since I was not even asked for an ID before voting so I assume that if I pretend to vote again using another’s name, I could.

"inked" finger after voting

Moving on, I have three things in mind, first, to know the local politics and the newly-elected Barangay officials because for sure, alot if not all will still run in the coming elections. Second is to immediately erase the indelible ink in my right point finger (because last May, it took a month before the ink naturally vanished) and third, nothing much, I just look forward to a happy and cold Christmas season (Haha! Connect?)

Yehey! Sorry, excited. 🙂

TO WHOM DOES IT REPORT?

Posted: September 21, 2010 in Media, Politics

I will not speak as if I am an expert or professional analyst. I just want to express my own, personal views on the INCIDENT INVESTIGATION and REVIEW COMMITTEE on the August, 23, 2010 Rizal Park Hostage-taking Incident (IIRC Report) provided by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) special body.

The First Report of the Luneta Hostage-Taking Incident is commendable. It affirms President Aquino’s pledge of accountability and transparency to the Filipino people. The body drafted and finished the Report very fast and it seems that they know what they are doing. However, the report’s tenor appears that it writes for China and not to seek the truth and shed light on the matter. It starts with the chronological account of what transpired from as early as 6 a.m until the assault’s end at around 9 p.m. It reconstructs the story primarily from first-hand testimonies of the freed and survived hostages, police officers involved, negotiators, “accessories” to the crime, media and even from the bystanders in Quirino Grandstand. It also includes medical, forensic and (initial) ballistic reports and analyses. The Report points the finger of blame, obviously to the Philippine National Police (PNP) through one of the Report’s highlights, the so-called Critical Incidents. This part tackles the lapses and inactions on the side of the authorities or the potentially “make-or-break” situations for the authorities and the Hostage Taker. The first Critical Incident is the lost of chain of command and clear delegations of task which led to the inability to establish a Crisis Management Group (CMC), according to the Crisis Manual and Protocol, it is the City Mayor (Mayor Alfredo Lim) who has the authority to establish such. Under CMC were sub-groups that could have been very useful and at times critical to the negotiation’s success such as a psychologist. Second is the misunderstanding and underestimation of the Hostage Taker’s demands, thus the negotiators’ moves were flawed and at the disadvantage of the hostages’ safety. They did not feel that base on the negotiators’ assurances of positive result in accordance to his demands and not to mention phone conversations between the Hostage Taker and the DOJ Sec., Ombudsman the police officers on ground, the Hostage Taker’s expectation level goes up. In relation to the second, third are the unfruitful tools of negotiation that only trigger the Hostage Taker’s anger such as the “Motion to Review” instead of an “Order of Reinstallation” following from the presumption that due to their assurances and many options opened to the Hostage Taker, the latter’s expectations rises up. Due to this, the huge possibilities of peaceful break down that even the alternatives opened up were rejected. Fourth was “(t)he acts, omissions and reaction, of the authorities concerned with resolving the crisis situation, to the initial breakdown”. The loss of the handlers’ focus on the main incident due to Gregorio (Hostage Taker’s brother) is evident. The Report said that the brother could have been a very powerful instrument to salvage the tearing down negotiation and revive the trust of the Hostage Taker. The fruit of the Fourth is the Fifth which is the arrest of Gregorio as ordered by Mayor Lim that led the Hostage Taker to shoot the hostages. The Sixth is “(t)he departure of Mayor Lim and General Magtibay from the Advance Command Post at a crucial time. It is caused by “error in judgement” and paralyses the existing operation. Anything planned to be done in a restaurant could be done better in the Command Post. Lastly, the Eight Critical Incident is (t)he absence of an organized Post Assault Plan”. Having this could make rescue of hostages easier, securing the area better to avoid further harm and recover of the scene of investigation more efficiently. The lost of command is proven when no point person/office is tasked/directed to collect the crime evidences. There was no crowd control also that resulted to media riding inside the ambulances just to have footage and a bystander injured from the Hostage Taker’s stray bullet. The crux of the issue boils down to the lack of training, equipment and readiness of the PNP. The Report continues on the media’s coverage, salient points are raised including coverage having gone over board as evident is the “showing of tactical or strategic footages”, the coverage of Hostage Taker’s brother’s arrest, the live interview with the Hostage Taker over Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) station DZXL with Michael Rogas as anchorman.

Indeed there are no statutes that prohibit media to cover in such “news worthy” stories because the People are guaranteed of the freedom to know and the media have autonomy and self-regulation. However, when innocent lives are at stake and national interest is at risk, the media personnel must know, like how they know where their elbows are no matter how irregularly seen, how to self-regulate and where to balance ethics, business and competition. The Report added that ”(e)thical rules and regulations governing journalist covering a crisis situation, locally and internationally, vary in the manner they are phrased, but the essence of the ethical rules and considerations are the same”. These operational rules and code of ethics must work in actuality beyond its pedestal as texts. In the Quirino Grandstand hostage-taking, it is evident that media failed to do so. Yes, there is no innocent world out there, but there is no guilty world out there too, unless we make the former an excuse. The assessment part of the Report ended criticizing the media’s unethical coverage (especially RMN) that compromises the negotiators’ chance to appeal to the Hostage Taker.

After reading the First Report, I know that it is not half-baked. It presents the facts chronologically and logically. It removes my prior notion that it is written for China. It is still somehow written for the very institutions that either holds or maintains the current social order. It is also a good reminder for the future policemen and media practitioners. I will however read the assessment for media for the second time and hopefully make a “Second Report” on the First Report.

Again, this is not an expert’s view of the matter. There are just personal opinions with their own biases. After all, after things have been said, we must all go back to the very fact that the Report should not be a trophy for the authorities or the President, neither a “graphic” fictional story for an ordinary reader. This Report should be a compelling reason for everyone to end the culture of being “reactive” and start being “proactive”.

Full text can be downloaded at http://www.gov.ph/2010/09/17/first-report-of-the-iirc-on-the-rizal-park-hostage-taking-incident/

From the adjacent cluster, people also line up to vote but they are relatively more efficient.

May 10, 2010. You can feel the excitement in the atmosphere and you know that this day is not your another ordinary day.

This is my first time to vote and it is also the country’s first time to have the fully-automated elections. I am excited for two reasons: first, the fact that I am a first-time voter and I will participate in automated elections and second, I want to see the PCOS machine. (Well, just a side story, the PCOS machine and its screen is smaller than I expected.) Besides, it is my fundamental right to vote and responsibility for the country. Now I understand, why long before then, when the elections were still manual, people were wiling to line up and waited for a very long time just to have their right point finger tainted with an annoying blue-ish to black ink.

I am registered in Barangay Silangan, San Mateo, Province of Rizal. I wake up early and go to the precinct with my parents. As expected, many people assigned in different clusters form long lines and wait for their turns. My dad and I have the same cluster except my mom. Our cluster is composed of transferees, first-time and newly-registered voters. It is the longest line that crosses the whole basketball court and curves to the court-side, the promise of faster voting procedure due to automation remains a dream.

Immediately after voting, I took a photo of my finger with an indelible ink.

Under the heat of the sun, with only one umbrella, we line up for six (6) hours from 9:30 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon. The PCOS machine in our cluster overheats twice. The other clusters are relatively fast. My mom lines up in a wrong cluster and lines up again in another one but finishes voting after two (2) hours. Reading the Facebook posts and texts messages of my friends, I envy them that they are able to vote faster. A friend calls his cluster an “express lane” and he is able to vote after 5 minutes.

I still wonder what happened in our cluster but assessing my experience, though tired, stressed and I have sunburns, imagine, because of lining up to vote, everything is still worth the wait. It is another first time in my life. Due to automation, partial counts come up very fast and this election shows a higher level of confidence and trust with the results’ credibility. Majority of Presidential and Vice-presidential aspirants have already conceded. Moving on from election scenarios, we should remain vigilant and at the same time hopeful that the almost-winning Noynoy Aquino (though not my bet!) will remain with his promises that he will lead the nation to the straight path to progress and that he will never steal form public fund.