A day with the police-A A +A
By Benny Balweg
Friday, September 6, 2013
USUALLY, even if they are in a crowd, they look very much apart from the crowd, a world by themselves. Many look at them, wishing they were not there except in time of danger when these same people cry to heavens for their quick presence. They look a part of the elitists because of their well groomed uniform of blue and their shining shoes.
Last August 28, however, with a bit of touch, they were literally transformed into a very likable human company. At least, that is how I came to perceive a section of them at Teacher’s Camp, Baguio City. Forty-three (43) of them, ranging from fresh graduates to decades of years of service in the Philippine national police force, came to attend a seminar forum on values education. It was a part of a program of manpower resource development that would serve for promotional purposes, I was told upon arrival. Everybody, by the way, arrived well on time despite the off and on driving rains. I well imagined how BARP President Prof. Federico Balanag would have reacted with a pleasant surprise had he seen me entering the lecture room promptly on time for this not always the case with me at board meetings. In fact, at the Mandarin Restaurant, Session Road, Baguio, he once announced, “OK, if Dir. Ben Balweg is here, then everybody is here; meeting called to order.”
Upon entering the seminar hall at Teachers Camp, I sensed right away the police-like atmosphere: order to come to attention and then standing in silence. I acknowledged and returned the greeting to put everybody at ease.
The hall gave me the usual classroom-like view of front table and sitting arrangement where the audience cannot see those at the back and see only the back of those in front. Everybody’s focus is to the lecturer-teacher as if he is the only source of knowledge and the only one empowered to impart such knowledge. Audio-visuals were there, a powerpoint machine in particular.
Suddenly, however, my indigenously-molded mind reacted. “Let us follow the “amung” formation,” I instructed. The chairs were in minutes arranged in near- circular formation where everybody could see the face of everybody.
This is a cultural identity seen in Cordillera public gatherings, hence something of value as it is practical. It emphasizes the value of knowing one another creating camaraderie and friendship. Self-introduction was done with interest because the speakers came to value the purpose thereof – peace – and all participants were seen listening. And who would not listen when good behavior when somebody is given th floor to speak was explained as a valued Cordillera public forum identity? How unedifying, it was pointed out, to see chosen personalities at the stage or head table talking their own things when someone formally recongnized is speaking; how abominable the announcing by emcees to recognize the presence or entry of one who comes late to a meeting or assemblage while those who come on time and then suffer the torture of waiting are asked to clap their hands!
After the usual program preliminaries, there came the self-introduction where everyone was enjoined to give adequate info about himself/herself, no timidity. Know your audience is a basic rule in public speaking, another value, the would-be lecturer reminded. True enough, the group was a babel in/ age, language, geographical and ethnic roots, education and former work and what have you. And only six to seven hours of refresher course? Minimize the very logical steps, more the psychological approach was the answer. Possible topics came out naturally, priority being given to moral and social values. Related to Filipino values, political corruption, autonomy, and the Reproduction and Health issues got quite a chunk of the time for the interchange of ideas. Advertence and solutions to problems was really the work of all. No time for anybody to nap. The only better value to the intellectual pingpongs played by many players, as jocosely expressed by one of the participants, was the break for snacks and personal necessity.
Zeroing on police values, the chair strongly recommended that law enforcers should be co-educators and co-social workers and less of the apprehender image to be endured to the masses. The traffic enforcer, for example, should do away with brandishing the apprehension ticket while enforcing, but rather, devices a manner which makes violators feel ashamed of themselves instead of getting angry. Easier said than done but it can be done. St. Philip Neri said you can catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar. Consistent firmness but humaneness of manner is the name of a valuable police game.
In the participants’ evaluation that ended the seminar, Alexander Tamang said, “I participated in all discussions you taught me sir, maybe 15 times of talking, reciting sir, thank sir, values from works, family, RH Bill, gambling. Another, PINSP Victoriano G. Cabaddul Jr. said, “I also participated in the discussion of your subject. And I like it sir.” Seconded by PI Vicente L. Tarind-ay, Dave Fronda, PI Francisco Rodriguez Jr., PI Bernardo Antolin, PI Daniel Aquino Jr., and PI Rodelio Labiano. To them and the rest that cannot be all mentioned here, thank you, too! I also learned a lot from you. Just remember what we said: If you retain and put to action one to three values that you appreciated most from this conference, our seminar was successful enough.” Never mind if the grade mark I gave to each was humanly off the mark, okay?
As a valued postscript, congratulations to Course Dir. “Lito” Alinao and the PPSC (Philippine Public Safety College), a Cordillera Administrative Region Training School and Satellite Campus of the National Police College, for their human resource education program. A worthy undertaking indeed!
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 07, 2013.