4Cs, not C4: Solutions for PNP-AFP, anti-terror, politics, culture, ‘misencounters’

The Philippine National Police-Armed Forces of the Philippines (PNP-AFP) incident last week — was it a rubout or a misencounter? Is it to be seen as a matter of facts, of law (or justice), of policy or of what? This is among the many issues in the Philippines that could be easily be reduced and, with applying a few principles, could put the Philippines solidly on the footing of becoming a consistent rather than a “wishy-washy” culture, a respected, dynamic country. Building an organization or this nation is often like building a castle on sand. The same types of problems happen again and again.

“Misencounters,” missing funds, vast overpricing, double titles on properties, fraternity deaths — who are responsible for unconscionable contracts; who is the source of fake news and fake histories; what is fake and what is real? Many of the amazing jaw-dropping news that happen every other week have simple obvious solutions that half our population knows of, but 90 percent of our population can critique but don’t really care to change, and some 10 percent are able to benefit from despite the problems.

4Cs can be applied as a framework to build our analysis and decisions: 1) camcording, i.e. record keeping; 2) context, i.e. comparison of results over time and places, not in limited instance; 3) competence, i.e. study record of results, not articulateness alone; and 4) culture, i.e. apply to productive-constructive action, understanding and criticisms alone are useless.

Camcording. Cameras, recordings, bodycams on our lawmen and security people, and area cameras in hotspots will reduce 80 percent of the disputes on facts.  Many incidents in the last few years of fights and stolen goods in subdivisions, schools, stores, factories, lovers’ quarrels and bank transfers, among others, have been resolved without argument — leaving only issues of interpretations.  Recordings were used to clearly establish the use of unnecessary force in George Floyd’s murder and who were involved; blackbox recordings show what happened in ill-fated flights; screenshots of tweets, texts or posted pictures have prevented denials of what was clearly said or done.

This respect for records, primarily to learn from them and apply the knowledge to life, has always been a key foundation of all great civilizations, nations, organizations and sciences.

We in the Philippines, as a people, have had a poor discipline and respect for record keeping — most of our early culture and history even has to be obtained from Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese records. We even allowed the United States to cart off most of our 1900s Philippine Revolution records (a positive point is that at least they have been catalogued and preserved).

Context. Contextual understanding, not isolated and selected instances, is important to avoid making decisions and policies depending on selected instances — since policies are supposed to apply to wider circumstances over time.  It means gathering facts over more instances, circumstances, over longer periods of time.  Thus, one PNP-AFP incident should not be the basis of defining their relationship. Marriages should not be dissolved over a few instances of disputes. Students don’t fail just because they failed several tests. International relations are not based on an event or misunderstanding.

Why is former associate justice Antonio Carpio always reflecting the US position, asking for the closing of Confucius Institutes?  Has he enrolled and stayed to see what is being taught or discussed there?  We have learned Japanese language from the Japanese embassy; watched movies in Cervantes Institute of Spain; and read the books of Thomas Jefferson Library of the US and Goethe Haus of Germany in the 1970s and ‘80s when our school libraries were limited.  Why not shut them down? Do they not also promote their cultures and not politics? Did we not learn Hollywood, Captain America and that American Indians are savages and villains?

Competence. Competency-based choice of leaders and opinion makers, with a record of achieved results; not mere articulateness, charm or access — that means that instead of supposed “think tanks” and critics, literary writers who have no record of successful life implementations (can be listened to), greater weight should be given to opinions of those who cite relevant cases and good logic, proven over time from verifiable experience. Of course, integrity is important.

When Sen. Panfilo Lacson compared the Anti-Terrorism Law with that of Australia’s and the United States’, and cites that ours is for detention of 14 days (up to 24 days) in comparison to Thailand with up to 30 days; Malaysia, up to two years; Singapore at 720 days; and Indonesia, up to 120 additional days — that was competency-based.

Can the Anti-Terrorism Law be abused? Of course — like powers of taxation and policing, like rights to appeal, like regulatory agencies, like everything else, can be abused. But it is up to us as a people to balance its use. As long as the one in detention can be protected from unreasonable harm, a detention of three days can easily allow a terror plan to still be executed. Fourteen days is enough to throw off the timing of a major attack.  We are not endorsing the law but pointing out there is a logical basis — it is up to us to use our votes, implementing guidelines, attention in crisis situations, to balance its use in a proper context. When the oppositions and their international backers here oppose the law, are they also opposing the detentions and executions in Iraq, Saudi, Libya, etc? Are they opposing the immediate use of force on unarmed and already gunshot people by both police and civilians in the US, or the dangers of an approximate 30 thousand deaths a year in the US from private gun ownership?

Culture. Culture of sustained implementation is needed — not just understanding, articulation, criticism, which the Philippines wins international academic awards in.  Everyone should be involved in incremental but organized improvement, establishing systems sustained over time.

One of the reasons we in the Philippines have difficulty innovating and building world class concepts and organizations is we have to spend 30 percent of our time managing the government and its requirements, written and unspoken; 30 percent in reminding its people again and again of policies in operations. Otherwise, people would be almost entirely managed by Facebook, Netflix and YouTube, aside from the “victim of love” culture of our TV series.  Organizations have little time to study world markets, develop logistics capabilities, apply or develop technologies.

We have to spend more time and attention to build the conceptual, spiritual, systems foundations as a people to build the great nation we can be, instead of always being the catch-up kid — not yet, but hopefully we will be in the process of building our better future.

Part of Series: Business & Economic Prospects, Situation of PH Management of Covid19

George Siy is a Wharton-educated industrialist, international trade practitioner and negotiator, serving as director of the Integrated Development Studies Institute (IDSI). He has advised the Philippines and various organizations in trade negotiations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Japan and the United States.

New Worlds by IDSI (Integrated Development Studies Institute) aims to present frameworks based on a balance of economic theory, historical realities, ground success in real business and communities, and attempt for common good, culture, and spirituality. We welcome logical feedback and possibly working together with compatible frameworks (idsicenter@gmail.com).

**Also published in:  https://www.manilatimes.net/2020/07/04/opinion/columnists/4cs-not-c4-solutions-for-pnp-afp-anti-terror-politics-culture-misencounters/738060/

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