Six months after being opened by the Manila Police District, the ‘honesty store’ was forced to close down over the weekend due to financial losses.
Edd Gumban
MPD closes ‘honesty store’
Rey Galupo (The Philippine Star) - January 9, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — After six months of operation, the Manila Police District (MPD) “honesty store” closed shop over the weekend, citing financial losses attributed to dishonest buyers.

“We have decided to close the store because it is not picking up. On the contrary, we are losing money and it is not a good idea to continue when nothing is happening positively,” MPD Finest Brotherhood Cooperative general manager Ester Tan told The STAR.

Tan said they are losing an average of P500 to P1,000 a month or a total of more than P20,000, including the more than P15,000 they lost to a thief since they started operating last June.

“We wanted to replenish the store but it was an exercise in futility considering that it was not really doing any good,” she said.

Tan said they have footage from the lobby’s closed-circuit television showing “nameless people who just get money from the box as if it is their personal ATM machine.”

The store is just a meter away from the guard  at the lobby but that did not stop the thieves.

She said some “buyers” did not pay the correct amount of what they purchased, while others were getting more than the change due them.

“It is a tough proposition. Honesty store is not applicable in MPD or for that matter anywhere other than Batanes,” Tan said, referring to the Honesty Café in the province where the project was first implemented.

MPD director Senior Supt. Vicente Danao Jr. said he is saddened by the development, “but it is their (MPD cooperative) call and I can only advise them.”

A brainchild of former MPD director Chief Supt. Rolando Anduyan, the district’s honesty store was launched at the lobby of the MPD headquarters along UN Avenue on June 9.

The store sells food, beverages, noodles and other items and is left unattended. 

“We would like to open the eyes of the (police officers) that if they can be honest in small things they can also be trustworthy in bigger things,” Anduyan said during the launch.

He said the store’s target customers are the police officers on duty, visitors and other guests who frequent the headquarters. 

Anduyan said the proceeds would be used to enhance the store until such time that “everybody gets used to it.”  

In August last year, the “honesty store” suffered a setback after it reportedly lost more than P15,000 to a thief who regularly “collected” the proceeds.  

MPD officials identified the suspect as Liza, a female aide who had worked at the district personnel division. 

The MPD general assignment and investigation section (GAIS) failed to file charges against Liza since the cooperative showed no interest in pursuing the case.

The suspect was dismissed from her work and was never seen again at the headquarters.

Senior Police Officer 3 James Poso, GAIS investigator, said Tan noticed the sudden decline in sales two months after the store was launched. 

“The manager asked for a copy of the (closed-circuit television footage) and saw (Liza) pocketing the sales. It is believed that (she) may have been coming back to collect the proceeds every time she noticed that the box was full,” Poso said. 

The MPD honesty store was the first of its kind in any police station in the country.

HONESTY STORE MANILA POLICE DISTRICT
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