Egalitarian | Public Trust and Public Safety

I ATTENDED the launching of the Performance Governance System (PGS) Institutionalization Stage of the Philippine National Police Regional Office XI last Friday morning. I personally wanted to witness the event given the personal effects the transformation of the police in community development.The PGS is a governance roadmap known in the police community as the PATROL Plan 2030.  By and large, it is a governance measure of the police in their operations. However, what are there to measure about? What are these measurements up for?

Inasmuch as the business world implements the Balanced Scorecard in order to compete with tough rivalry brought about by globalization, technology changes, dramatic climactic changes, changing population tastes, the same is true for the public service, and to be more specific, the Philippine National Police. Bereft of the competitors and profit as the “bottomline” of business, the Philippine National Police “bottomline” is the public trust.

And for so many years, the PNP is laced with the impression of imploding unruly personnel who are behind in the criminal syndicates and gangs. In fact, in the 1990s where most of the movies depict the lives of the criminals, the antagonists are the police. There you remember the Baby Ama, the Davao’s Pugoys, the Waways, which all paint the police as the cause of the enemies.

Thus, it is coming as an issue of trust and impression in winning the support of the community. Whenever I deliver a talk to the police or to the students of the officers’ course, I force the issue that the community is the police, and the police is the community. The community must be one with the police for the police are the men and women in uniform who assume civilian nature in ensuring peace and orderliness in our own backyard, in the streets we wander, in the highways we all use, in parking areas we frequented, in the beach fronts we spend our Sundays. They’re the discipline next door. What if disorder and chaos seemed to be prevalent in a community? The police failed in their primary function, making the public trust them.

The cause of the failure seemed to be in the unscientific manner by which engagements, plans and programs implemented by the police force. If the police will use a single perspective of law enforcement, and if the managerial and community relations are left behind, then the work is seen as just another brute operations. However, if the police force can convert the impression that the police operations are all but explicit actions of the intentions of the community to ensure that peace, safety and security are ensured, then the concept of mutual dependence settles in. What I like about the PATROL PLAN 2030 is the clear vision of ensuring that the community is a safe and secured place to live, work and do business.

Since 2005 up to now, the most important accomplishment of the PNP Transformation journey is the stakeholder relationship that had been made firm and even stronger over the course of time. The public trust has been made better since then because ordinary citizens are becoming part of the system of protection made for them, it is co-ownership of the plan. The formation of the anti-drug councils where civilians and barangay officials take significant roles in addressing the drug problems able to shift the tide from the bloody drug raids to effective buy busts. Women concerns are now handled by Women and Protection Desks which takes into the mainstream gender concerns. Again, a transformation in the manner by which the police engage the community.

However, public trust, crime resolution, better engagement are things which need to be measured, so that these can be improved. To do this, the metrics provided by the PGS will be used to determine how successful the community is for working, living and doing business for all. At the end of the day, public safety is everybody’s business, it is not one thing we just let the police to do alone.

Posted in Opinion