Corruption, inefficiency and politicization are the common characters of the Philippine military and police in status quo. The emerging issues and concerns regarding the military and police are what make them be labelled as weak, corrupt, and insensitive by Filipinos. Soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have been demoralised and have done inefficient work on establishing peace and order as they experience lamentable economic condition. Videos have gone viral on social networking sites showing their pitiful condition.
In an article by Philippine Star columnist Alex Magno, he discussed the indecisiveness of the Aquino government from the Luneta fiasco that resulted in the deaths of eight Hong Kong tourists up to the fighting in Zamboanga… and why until now, President Aquino didn’t bother to declare Zamboanga in a state of emergency when that was the right thing to do (philstar. com). “Although it did not occur to the President to ask why, after all these years, the AFP did not have standard combat rations.
At about the time he was distributing phone cards to the troops, we saw video clips of soldiers at the frontline eating rice from banana leaves and basically subsisting on boiled eggs donated by residents,” said Magno. According to Magno, the Aquino administration should focus on buying modern instruments like new naval vessels, guns or aircraft which AFP needs for long years. However, food for the soldiers must not be set aside, especially those soldiers in combat situation. “An army marches on its stomach,” as quoted by Napoleon Bonaparte.
In a combat zone, food in the stomach of soldiers is the weapon that should not be forgotten. Video clips on social networking sites showing military soldiers in Zamboanga eating at the middle of the battle is a big evidence on the administration’s neglect of the soldiers’ welfare. Hunger is felt by the force, resulting to an inefficient and weak struggle for peace. Another issue going viral on Facebook is a ‘sorry state of a soldier’s boots’, where protruded nail can be seen, which could wound the soldier’s foot, that could lead to tetanus and foot amputation at the worst case.
(philstar. com) These pieces of evidence have shown that many Filipino soldiers are ‘dirt poor’. Many soldiers have squatter residence; many are in the midst of poverty. Surely, corruption issues would always be connected to this extreme poverty of the military soldiers. Department of National Defense (DND) has Php 121. 6 B allocated budget for year 2013 (budgetngbayan. com), but looking at the actual military force condition place people on a skeptical ground. Why, despite a hundred billion budget of DND, does the military soldiers experience hunger and lack of instruments?
Was the money spent for military and police improvement, or was it kept away by high military and police officials? The answers to these questions could only be answered by transparency on expenditure and righteous government with strong political will. Reformist Officers United (ROU) describes the P-Noy regime as ‘weak, corrupt, and insensitive’ (tribune. net). The Aquino administration is not committed on public service, but rather committed on maintaining the welfare of the ruling elite. It does not offer transparency because it protects powerful figures from the eye of law.
Audacity has always been the character of P-Noy’s regime, which is also like of his mother Corazon Aquino’s regime, when popularity surveys seem to be a main focus of the administration. As a result, powerful figures, especially political officials, have intruded in the life and destiny of Filipino people. Aquino, according to ROU, “has been deceiving the armed forces into “fighting its battles of self-aggrandizement while undermining the military at every turn. It tells its armed service to fight terrorism without credible laws to protect them and the people.
Many of our men have already died of loss of blood fighting a war they do not even understand” (tribune. net). His advocacy of ‘Matuwid na Daan’ has always been for the elite. Aquino administration has dwindled the ‘once-proud military and police organization’ into private security forces. Peace and order could not be achieved through these actions. The military and police continue to be demoralized and to be shot through with politics. (tribune. net) Politicization of AFP has occurred since the Marcos dictatorship. Up to now, performance is not an important thing for influence and power as an official.
What matters is the political allegiance of officers to factions or interest groups. This situation has reached a stage where factions within the military have recognized their capacity to intervene in politics and society (journals. upd. edu. ph). Even in the Philippine National Police (PNP), politicization controls the whole system. According to Retired major general Ramon Montano, the PNP has been politicized because it has been placed under the secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), wherein under the law it should be headed and controlled by the National Police Commission.
“So now, the approval of the mayor is needed before you can be a police chief in an area. The PNP has been politicized,” Montano explained. Aside from the issue of politicization, corruption of course would not be out of concern. Despite the allocated budget, PNP today is facing logistics problem which is still not completely solved by the government (newsinfo. inquirer. net). Chief Superintendent Lani-o Nerez, deputy chief for logistics, said one of the problems is the deteriorating and dismal state of police stations nationwide.
Of the 1,741 police stations across the country, only 691, or 40 percent, are owned by the PNP while the remaining 1,050, or 60 percent, are in LGU-owned buildings and lots. Nerez also reported that the PNP is short 66,886 long firearms, including 48,456 M16 rifles, for its 125,000 personnel. Ideally, each policeman should have one issued short firearm. [But] due to inadequate funds to procure firearms, the PNP prioritized issuance of firearms to PNP units and personnel in high risk areas, Nerez said.
Aside from this, the PNP also lacks 12,714 vehicles. The police is also 74 percent short of the 109 watercraft it is required to have, and 80 percent short of its required aircraft. (newsinfo. inquirer. net) Though not supported by sufficient evidence because of lack of transparency, it could be concluded from the fact above that corruption dominates the police system. PNP is given sufficient fund for its improvement, but information shows that there is no fund to buy instruments for the police force.
Given this situation to the country’s police force, it could be concluded that the police could not efficiently maintain domestic peace and order. With these being seen by Filipinos, the mass have already lost their trust to the military and police institution of the country. According to the latest Global Corruption Barometer of the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is considered the most corrupt institution in the country, as surveyed from Filipino respondents.
The survey showed that 69 percent of surveyed Filipinos believed police personnel were corrupt; moreover the military was deemed corrupt by 43 percent of the respondents. (philstar. com) Meanwhile, Malacanang said that the issue of corruption is being addressed by the Aquino administration (philstar. com). “Our fight against corruption has been recognized from six percent (in 2010) to 38 percent and we continue to fight corruption in all levels,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.
“We recognize that there are still some levels of corruption but the people have seen that there is a consistent fight against corruption under this government,” he added. It is still hopeful for the Philippine system to be just and and to be corruption-free. With the strong and proper implementation of law and regulations and the strong political will of righteous leaders, the country would be free from injustice not only in the military and police, but also on its whole system. References Abinales, P. N. The August 28 Coup: The Possibilities and Limits of the Military Imagination.
Kasarinlan Vol. 3,No. 2. 1987. Retrieved at http://journals. upd. edu. ph/index. php/kasarinlan/article/view/603/600 Avila, B. Give the Filipino soldier better food! September 19, 2013. Retrieved at http://www. philstar. com/opinion/2013/09/19/1226851/give-filipino-soldier-better-food Crisostomo, S. ‘Cory general’ to seek reforms in AFP, PNP. April 28, 2013. Retrieved at http://www. philstar. com/headlines/2013/04/28/935761/cory-general-seek-reforms-afp-pnp Disgruntled Forces Surface, say ‘Crucial Decision’ Made.
September 12, 2013. Retrieved at http://www.tribune. net. ph/index. php/headlines/item/19082-disgruntled-forces-surface-say-crucial-decision-madeSummary of Allocations. 2013. Retrieved at http://budgetngbayan. com/summary-of-allocations/ Kwok, A. PNP admits logistics problems; seeks LGU backing for transformation program. March 11, 2009. Retrieved at http://newsinfo. inquirer. net/topstories/topstories/view/20090311-193599/PNP-admits-logistics-problems Romero, A. PNP most corrupt agency—survey. July 11, 2013. Retrieved at http://www. philstar. com/headlines/2013/07/11/964084/pnp-most-corrupt-agency-survey.