Thursday, February 12, 2015

Exodus 2.0

Whoever tagged the SAF mission: “Oplan Exodus” may not have realized that during the biblical Exodus only 2 of the original adults that crossed the desert out of Egypt made it to the promised land: Joshua and Caleb, everyone else met their death and was buried in the desert. Reports claim only 2 SAF members survived from the main team.
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Because of our dependence on the notion of “trust and confidence,” we Filipinos will forever fall into disasters caused by Incompetence.
When President Noynoy Aquino spoke about his long relationship with resigned PNP Chief Alan Purisima he highlighted their relationship forged in a life and death situation, made stronger by loyalty and devotion to the Presidential family. It was his long standing relationship with P-Noy over the years that led to Alan Purisima getting to where he is and it was that same sense of loyalty and gratitude that sustained the President’s support for Purisima. This too was what made it difficult for P-Noy to see that Purisima had become a liability, the same way Butch Abad has become a liability, the same way that Prosi Alcala has become a liability, the same way Jun Abaya has become a liability.
It is a very Filipino character to stand by our friends and those who stood by us during difficult times. To a lesser degree we even bestow undeserved jobs, titles and opportunities to friends based on trust and confidence rather than go through the inconvenience of seeking out competent people to do the job.
Listening to P-Noy, I was reminded of my own feet of clay as well as those of thousands of Filipinos who employ relatives, childhood friends, and neighbors primarily because of familiarity, blood relations or friendship that we translate to “Trust and confidence.” Unfortunately trust and confidence rarely translates to competence, which is why at least half if not majority of those relationships ultimately get shipwrecked in the storms of the marketplace. Even foreigners living among us and marrying into Filipino families find themselves trapped or sucked into the mad practice of hiring or entrusting businesses to kamag-anaks or kabarkadas who don’t even have any idea of running an office or a business.
Looking back at P-Noy’s many failures, it would be fair to say that many of them were not self-inflicted      but rather caused or created by people around the President whose primary justification for existence is that they are former buddies in Malacañang during the Cory years, the President’s buddies in Congress or loyalists from their Tarlac to Boston days. The only thing that continues to save the President’s ass is the people’s ability to distinguish the President from the failures of those with whom he has “trust and confidence.” Without a doubt, P-Noy is simply being Filipino without meaning to. It’s just how things evolve.
However, there comes a time when we all must learn from our mistakes. After discovering that my friends were the most incompetent or least efficient among the crew, I swore an oath never to hire a friend, relative or someone I had a debt of gratitude with UNLESS they were the most qualified for the job. I also promised myself that if it ever came to that point, I would be more than willing to fire them immediately and with no emotion.
Some may argue that trust and confidence is worth their weight in gold, but incompetence like lead is a heavier burden and also has an equal cost in lost performance, profits and destabilization within the organization. If P-Noy were running a professional corporation half of his Cabinet members would have long been fired for the disasters and misery they caused P-Noy. Unfortunately for P-Noy, he did not get enough training and experience as a corporate manager to appreciate the value of quick turnovers for misfits and troublesome managers. As far as “Trust and Confidence” is concerned, CEOs know that trust is almost always the by-product of competence and confidence is the revenue for success and profit.
Kamag-anak, Ka-inuman, Kabarilan is not a unique thing to P-Noy, to Erap or anyone for that matter. It’s been the Filipino way and it has to stop, at home, at work and even in government. Competence must be the way.
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Reading between the lines of resource persons during the Senate investigation on the Mamasapano massacre, one gets the impression that the Philippine National Police was sick and tired of trying to coordinate with the AFP because many previous attempts almost always resulted in “failure to launch” with the underlying suggestion that the two services were constantly competing for the glory of achieving their target and coming home to say “mission accomplished.”
Another thing that got me thinking was Secretary Mar Roxas’ statement that they don’t have the technology as in attack choppers and firepower to back up a para-military unit such as the PNP-SAF, which is why they constantly have to rely on the AFP who as it turns out in the Mamasapano massacre is not as quick and as light footed as they would want us to believe.
So if the PNP-SAF constantly finds themselves in military type situations in order to fulfill police-civilian duties, why depend on an AFP that in itself is already underpowered and undergoing weapons upgrading. Why not build up the SAF weaponry and ground support in order for them to have at least one fully mechanized or armed unit that can be a stand alone group rather than have to wait for the speedy Gonzales of the AFP to debate on what constitutes a request and what are valid coordinates for artillery fire. I would define the concept as a “military-level SWAT” called in or incorporated to operations such as Oplan Exodus.”

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