Law enforcers are now too timid on lawbreakers | Inquirer Opinion
Sharp Edges

Law enforcers are now too timid on lawbreakers

/ 09:49 AM November 08, 2022

I cannot understand why authorities like the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Customs (B)C), PDEA and other agencies are becoming softer over law violators in the country. They not only hide the identities of suspects and if arrested, refuse to show their faces to media. Is this the new standard?

A lot of us complained why it takes time before authorities name these culprits publicly, more so when they come from prominent or well to do families. Remember the one who intentionally ran over a security guard in Mandaluyong, who was treated to a media conference inside Camp Crame? Don’t forget the one who rolled over an elderly street sweeper in BF Homes, Paranaque and the hit and run incident in Bgy. San Antonio, killing a three-year-old kid.

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How many days did it take MMDA or LTO to identify the owner/driver of the Ferrari F8 Turbo caught driving inside the prohibited EDSA busway? The incident happened October 14, and they continuously withheld the names of the sport car’s owner and the driver. And who was the owner of the silver supercar Ferrari 488 GTB costing P20-P30M who violated EDSA bus lane policy in June 2020? Still unidentified, the 26-year-old driver from Bataan, was just fined P1,000 then by the MMDA.

The Percy Lapid ambush investigation is an example of piecemeal investigation from last month until the filing of charges by the DOJ prosecutors today. Instead of regularly updating the public on the important facts of the case, pictures, and everything, they left us guessing with the news organizations forced to interpret the events like a TV drama script.

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Imagine, it took the authorities a month to identify the two masterminds, Bucor Director general Gerardo Bantag and his deputy security officer Ricardo Zulueta, and are now asking both to voluntarily surrender.

But can we expect their arrests even if this is murder, a non-bailable crime? We all hope so. But one month is enough time for them to plot their escape. Remember the Reyes brothers of Palawan? It took years before they were taken into custody. How about the then legislator who turned fugitive who waited out his favorable decision from a higher court before appearing?

Sorry, sirs, but I heard these tunes of surrender many times already!

BBM’s unity call needed for 50,000 Pinoy seafarers in European Union

Over 50,000 Pinoy seafarers working in Greece, Malta, Norway, and Germany may lose their jobs if the country continues to be non-compliant to the the International Convention on Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).

It is disheartening that since 2006, the country has not been able to pass the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) audit and this year will be the final year or ultimatum for the Philippine to make full compliance. I heard that our diplomats from the Department of Foreign affairs were successful in averting this looming crisis. But now, everything is coming to a head after the EU issued an ultimatum last March.

There were 23 discrepancies indicated by an EMSA audit in 2020 led by the non-updating of curricula for both the Bachelor of Science on Marine transportation and Marine engineering, including training programs that comply with the STCW. Also cited were lack of training facilities such as simulators, and absence of procedures for onboard training of students.
If the recognition is withdrawn, Pinoy officers will no longer be deployed in EU-flagged vessels until a new round of evaluation is implemented.

How did this happen? For the past two years, both the sleeping Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA)-DOTR, and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) have failed to remedy the specific deficiencies pointed out by the EU-EMSA for the past two years. Also, the onboard training requirement and facilities should have been addressed by the Philippine Coast Guard and what is the role of the new Department of Migrant Workers (DMW)?

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There are 83 maritime schools in the country today and only occasionally do we hear of CHED closing or punishing the substandard ones. Also, these unscrupulous schools are fighting government by seeking TROs and filing cases. And sad thing, parents and students who graduated BSMT or BSME but non-European Union compliant are left holding the empty bag are. To this day, these substandard schools are still in the accredited list of both MARINA and CHED.

Imagine if this EU compliance for Pinoy seafarers infect other countries who employ the larger 550,000 Pinoy seafarers. We will lose our competitive advantage to other nationalities in skills and competency evaluation. If that time comes, we should also say and say goodbye to our seafarers’ yearly remittances of P376.12-B ($6.38-B) to our economy.

BBM’s unity call is now desperately needed on the different views of MARINA-COAST GUARD DOTR, CHED, DMW, DFA in addressing this EU ultimatum on STCW compliance of our more than 50,000 seafarers.

(Comments to [email protected])

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