Editorial: Education tourism-A A +A
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
IF YOU’VE seen and been horrified by that video clip of two policemen beating up a foreign student, perhaps you should also know two things.
First, that they prevented the man from hurting those around him, and second, that both officers now face an investigation that has marred what their superiors have described as commendable careers.
These observations are not meant to excuse their handling of the incident. It appeared from the video that Bennidict Penini of Papua New Guinea was unarmed and already on the ground before the blows started. So, if all they meant to do was restrain and bring him to the police station for questioning, they did not need to thump him with their rifles or kick his back and belly to do that. As armed members of one of the Cebu City Police Office’s elite teams, they were expected to keep their emotions tightly in check.
But while it’s helpful to remind our law enforcers to use only reasonable force, it also bears pointing out that the incident would not have happened, had there been reasonable conduct on Penini’s part in the first place.
It may be politically incorrect to point this out, but since when has it become acceptable for guests to flout their host country’s norms? The City has laws against excessive noise, causing a public disturbance and drunkenness in public; it is supposed to apply these laws on locals and tourists alike.
Part of the problem is that we seem to have developed extreme tolerance for behavior similar to what Penini has displayed. We have allowed our norms and values—which are codified in our laws—to be violated, because we’ve been told that education tourism will help grow our economy.
And so we tolerate illegal tour guides, telling ourselves that foreigners will generate more positive word-of-mouth if they’re shown the place by one of their own.
We ignore the complaints of numerous cab drivers who’ve had to clean up the vomit on their back seats, from the wasted students they drove home. We look the other way while young Filipinas slave away in bars and brothels for these foreign visitors’ amusement.
The two officers’ handling of Penini’s case aside, we are confident that majority of foreigners who find themselves in Cebu are treated carefully and well. Is it too much to ask that they not make a nuisance of themselves in the communities that have welcomed them?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 12, 2012.