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Las Islas Filipinas

The Philippines has a beautiful historical past. Unfortunately, our wise brothers and sisters have nearly erased our history.

The future generation will have to dig deeper in order to discover the true story of our country.  Like an archeologist digging artifacts, our youth will have a very difficult time unearthing our culture and heritage.

We have very few history books that are good. Journals written by our local folk and foreign visitors throughout the centuries are hard to find. Many of our priceless Filipiniana books have become part of private libraries. History textbooks used in schools have been retold in different  versions.

We only have one national museum and it lacks exhibits of Philippine art, costumes, jewelry, music, etc.  from our different islands. We need to enrich it with the stories of the people of the Philippines (past and present), the different influences our people have experienced (Chinese, Indian, Spanish, etc.) throughout time, and how we were able to unite in brotherhood and win our independence. The museum should inspire us and make us proud to be Pinoys.

What about a national science museum? We always brag about the rich biodiversity and natural resources in this archipelago and yet many of us are still ignorant about what we have. Our people should see what our country’s richness is all about – thus, making us appreciate our own. This science museum should showcase a good and comprehensive collection of Philippine plants, animals and minerals. We have many unique plant and animal species (beautiful shells, very rare orchids and ferns, the longest crocodile in the world, the smallest fish and our cute tarsiers). We have exquisite corals, variety of fishes and the largest pearl in the world – the Pearl of Allah. By the way, this pearl was already claimed (in 1969 by a writer named Cobb) to have originated in China. Sanamagan! The Chinese seem to be declaring ownership of everything.

Anyway, going back to our fading history. Our politicians are not helping either. They keep on changing the names of our streets and highways, markets and landmarks. The fickle-mindedness of our historical groups from the past to the present is evident in how they have easily changed our ABAKADA by adding or removing letters. And now from the original name of our country ‘Filipinas’ to ‘Pilipinas’ and back again to ‘Filipinas’. Susmariosep! Make up your mind. You are hurting the country.  It is obvious that up to this point in time, we are a country still in search of our identity.

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Speaking of identity, our Philippine National Police (or the PNP) is one department like many others who seems to be always starting from scratch.  Many countries give importance to the uniforms of their police force or armed forces – always maintaining tradition and heritage. Our PNP is more fascinated or should I say preoccupied with a police fashion show. Goodness gracious!

A uniform gives an officer or anyone for that matter an identity.  It promotes respect and honor.  It symbolizes a culture of a group of people with principles and values.  If we keep on changing the uniform then this shows that there is no stability in the force.

Enough about the uniform! Last week the PNP was elated with the turn-over of over 22,000 Glock 17 9mm pistols, with 52,000 more scheduled to be delivered. Of course, this is good news but it has also disheartened the citizens to know that almost half of the police officers did not have guns in the past. How can our past presidents and PNP chiefs have allowed this? Personally, I feel deceived. How can a police force protect its citizens without guns, weapons, artillery not to mention patrol vehicles? Wow! What a country. No wonder our neighboring countries can bully us anyway they want. Salamabit!

The frustrating part about the PNP is that some if not many of its personnel remain corrupt and inefficient. I thought I would keep my mouth shut about an incident I experienced a month ago involving a police officer but I think it is a story that should be told so that many in the force can be more conscious of maintaining “honor and respect” with the positions they hold.

Last May, one of our office vans accidentally bumped a privately owned car in Angeles City. It was very clear that our driver was at fault. When our driver was trying to settle the matter following the proper steps for insurance purposes, the other car owner insisted that our van be impounded. The policeman at the scene sided with the private car owner. He did not follow protocol. How can a police officer impound a vehicle with all its official documents intact and with no violation at all except for the accident? Anyway, a few seconds later, a woman went out of the car and harassed our driver. She said she was a Col./Superintendent, a forensic chemical officer and chief of the Angeles City Crime Lab (ACCLO) under the PNP SOCO unit.  She acted like she was a goddess. She used her power to get what she wanted. But we found out later that her car papers were not in place. Upon hearing about this, I was appalled.  I complained to the Office of the Mayor of Angeles City and to the PNP public relations person in Manila. How can this happen? How can a PNP officer abuse her power and have the arrogance to flaunt it? Sanamagan! Such people should be kicked out of the force. I know we have many of these rotten eggs all around. But if you want to clean your department and change its image, the Chief should remove the rotten people from office and throw them to the lions’ den!

By the way, this PNP officer’s car should have been the one impounded because her CR was actually expired. Another action that puzzled me was that the police in-charge of filing the report only filed the report a day after. Is this a standard practice of the PNP? I know such practices can happen but I just feel like raising this question again because there is so much inconsistency in the implementation of their policies and guidelines.

It is a shame but the reality is that there are more scumbags than there are dedicated men and women serving the PNP. These good for nothing men and women in uniform who have tainted the dignity of the police corps should definitely be removed. Anyway, I thank Angeles City Mayor Pamintuan who gave this Angeles PNP team a good spanking.  But that lady officer never apologized! Just too proud up the very end!

The point of the matter is, even if you try so hard to change your image through improving your uniforms or renovating your offices, nothing will change if the people in it are rotten.  You have to change from within to earn the respect and honor you deserve.

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “We must become the change we want to see.”


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