It was probably the darkest day in recent months in the US since the horrific mass shootings in Connecticut and Colorado. With three dead and over a hundred wounded in a deadly bombing in Boston, America suffered another major security flaw despite having a sophisticated security and surveillance machinery developed after the 9-11 attacks.
The Boston Marathon bombing is probably the most unlikely event where a terrorist activity could be potentially held. It was unexpected and the damages to innocent lives and properties where incomprehensible.
But true to American spirit of heroism and bravery, we have seen another testament to their amazing courage by vowing to put the culprits to justice instead of doing the blame game first.
I have been amazed by the swift resolve of the deadly attacks and I felt compelled to make an appeal to Philippine police to take a look at American police as an institution revered by their citizens and emulate them at least.
Everyday every common Filipino lives in fear, even the wealthiest. They fear for their lives, not only from terrorist attacks, but from petty crimes. Whenever we roam the streets of Manila, we put our backpacks on our front (ironic right?) because we know for certain that there are pickpockets lurking around, preying around, waiting for a vulnerable victim to be robbed. We cannot leave our bags or laptops in any coffee shops, restaurants or even in churches, even for a few seconds, because we follow the five-second rule of robbery. There are lots of mad people out there. When the night strikes, the Filipinos are no longer afraid of aswangs but of mad people who are under the influence of any evil substance and has the potential to kill, harass or agitate us peaceful people.
And the apprehension of the culprits are even more frightening, exhausting and disgusting. We are proud to have the most comprehensive and well-written constitution but the delivery of justice has no teeth at all.
I listed down the Top 5 Things Filipinos and PNP Should Learn from Boston.
1. Cartoon Sketches of suspects are no longer cool - I hope our justice system would not entirely rely on poorly drawn photos of suspects. CCTV is the new way of getting new leads. Though some CCTV may render poor resolution, at least it has the accuracy to direct the investigators to a more reliable surveillance tool.
2. Speed to Response. Be guided by a lead time of response. Prove to us the misconception that police always come late. Crimes and threats like this don't happen everyday. So you pretty much have a lot of idle days. The reason why most of them are healthy is because they devote more time on their cars idly parked in scattered areas, instead of roaming around and patrolling their assigned areas.
3. We should give the PNP a confidence boost. Our PNP may be flawed but at it remains to be our sole protector and defender of justice. What we saw in the US is an overwhelming support of its citizens to the institution. They believe in the institution. Our PNP may be accused of corruption and incompetence but that doesn't give us reasons to not fully trust them at all. One way or another, our PNP is still committed to deliver justice and ensure safety. What they need now is support not only from the government but also from us.
4. To Pnoy. That next to education, infrastructure and economy, he must focus on putting more efforts in upgrading our security and justice institutions. It's a domino effect, upgrade the system, reward and incentivize, modernize the system, align the salary. The system must see an effort from the government. Police requires adequate patrol cars and mobiles to take them to various areas. We cannot blame them for their laxity always. They need some support system too, you know?!
5. Use all available channels and new resources. Embrace modern technology. Crimes cannot be prevented all the times, but that won't stop us investing for a decent if not sophisticated surveillance technologies and other investigative tools.
I dreamed a day when we will respect this institution that risks their life for the safety and security of its people.