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ADVOCACY MINDANOW By Jess G. Dureza

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Getting those bastards!

These last few days, I was having some routine treatment at the Davao Doctor’s Hospital strapped — and immobilized — to a dextrose bottle. So I was glued all the time to the TV. And saw on CNN the   minute-by-minute, blow-by- blow account of how two brothers, the bombers of the Boston marathon, were cornered and were being made to pay for their dastardly acts.

Guess what was running through my mind all that time: GETTING OUR OWN BASTARDS, TOO!  If only we could also successfully mount the same operations here and get our own murderers and bombers, too.

But then, that might be wishful thinking just yet. Sorry to say but we are NOT YET attuned, equipped, trained, united, determined, etc, etc and ready to mount a similar or at least, close to what the Americans showed to the world during those few critical days.

I noted a few “fundamentals” in the BOSTON massive operations that resulted to the killing of one bomber and later the arrest of his younger brother who hid inside a parked boat in a backyard of a residential neighborhood.

This may serve a critique of how we, LOCAL, do things, calling to mind the tourist bus HOSTAGE TAKING in Manila (which was fully covered by media as it happened) and other incidents.   I may be over simplifying things — or exaggerating — but I will still give it a try. And sorry, this may be at our own expense. And for those who will not agree with me, take this with a grain of salt.

Let’s go over my own checklist (initial of 10 items) and see where and how we stand if faced with a similar crisis, how BOSTON did it juxtaposed with our usual LOCAL ways of doing things:

1. BOSTON: All the operating units, national and local showed coordination and cooperation. It was one cohesive operation.  LOCAL: each operating unit wants to get the credit, at times even keeping information and not sharing with other agencies and operatives.  In some cases, hiding vital info, wanting to get the reward money for its own.

2. BOSTON: All residents complied and stayed indoors when requested during the search and pursuit operations.  LOCAL: people rush to the site of the action and crowd even critical areas to witness the action out of curiosity. We are fondly being called “osyoseros” with kibitzers and bystanders right at the front lines.

3. BOSTON:   Politicians, like the Boston Mayor and the Massachusetts Governor, although appearing to be not the best of friends, closed rank. LOCAL: Political rivals avoid each other’s company and skip being around when the other guy is already on the ground.

4. BOSTON: Volunteerism from citizens. A phone call from a resident that blood was found near a parked boat in his neighbor’s backyard led to the capture of the 2nd suspect. LOCAL: No one wants to give information for fear of being involved too or afraid of retribution by the bad guys in the days to come. “Huwag tayong maki-alam baka masali pa tayo “ is our usual stand.

5, BOSTON: Everyone wants to help and appeals for cooperation were the first call. LOCAL: Cash reward money immediately announced and dangled as incentive for citizen cooperation.

6. BOSTON:  Periodic media briefings to prevent undue speculation and inform the worried public of the status and updates as they develop. LOCAL: Media briefings seldom, if at all done, and only called when the crisis is over, leaving media to fight “tooth and nail” for information for their anxious audience.

7. BOSTON: Media networks, like CNN although up front, were circumspect and very careful with their handling of what they release to the public as the crisis was in progress. Their anchors were professional. LOCAL: It’s a circus and a rat race amongst competing networks trying to outdo each other for a scoop, even trying to establish contact with the bad guys —unmindful of being an interference in the on-going crisis handling, to outdo the others to get ahead of the game. Media men  “ reporting on the spot from the field” usually carried away.

8. BOSTON: Crisis management effective, operations successful. Citizens applaud, grateful and happy. LOCAL: Tragic end, recriminations, criticisms, anger.

9. BOSTON: State of the art equipment, thermal imaging from the helicopter, and use of robot, operational precision. LOCAL:  Fumbling assault operations, ineffective and embarrassing   tourist bus entry attempt using crude axe and big hammer.  Tragic end.

10. BOSTON: President Obama sounding triumphant with his nation, firm, thankful but stern looking. LOCAL: President Aquino smiling in the face of a tragic end.

So, how on earth can we get our own bastards? Ho-hum...




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