Monday, July 6, 2015

The Guray Method

We hate to put it bluntly but there’s only one word that can correctly describe the substation of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Davila, Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte: POOR!

We can explain in many ways why we rate the said substation as poor, but let’s just dissect one of them. Essaying on all of the reasons—especially their lack of equipment and capability to do their job—would be an attempt as wide as the West Philippine Sea.

Davila substation is a poor government office because it is a stinking burrow of red tape.

Last week, at least nine Taiwanese fishing vessels were spotted by local fishermen around 30 nautical miles from the shores of Davila. These foreign boats—most of them believed to be armed—were obviously carrying out illegal fishing in the Philippine waters.

Considering the ongoing disputes on the West Philippine Sea, the matter is alarming—and deserving of public attention and dissemination through the media.

So, we went to the PCG substation in Davila for a coverage—and there we saw the burrow.

The place was small. But it was not surprising considering that it is only a substation. What surprised us was the unconcerned demeanor of the petty officers. As if there was no problem confronting them at present. Brutally put, they were ignorantly cool.

When we started asking questions, of course with our camera, they flatly told us to go to their higher offices in Currimao or in the region to get answers for our questions.

What? Currimao is more than 60 kilometers from Davila! We were just asking questions similar to blotter materials—what, when, where, who, how! We were not asking for anything that would compromise their operations or anything that would result to their discharge in service. We were asking simple, almost trivial, facts.

But Petty Officer 2 Michael Guray, the substation commander, said that he is not allowed to speak. And if he speaks he must get first the permission of his superior in Currimao who will get first the permission of the regional command who will probably get first the permission of the national command.

Whew! We wanted to ask Mr. Guray if he already brushed his teeth, but we bet he will get the permission of his superior first before he can give an answer.

But we insisted on the interview. We stressed that as a substation, they have the obligation to inform the public on such pressing matter. So, Mr. Guray made us wait and wait. By the way, in Iluko, “guray” means “wait”.

At last, after a long wait and many debates, Mr. Guray granted us a short interview. An interview about simple, almost trivial, facts. At least we now know that an interview on open facts can also be mentally exhausting and energy draining—only in the PCG.

The coast guard is a part of our line of defense. Being a front-liner of the people’s protection, coast guard commanders must have some training on decision making—a leeway for self-confidence.

But if their substations are pinned on the “Guray Method”, what would happen to our security? What would happen to our country? We will be left hiding in the burrows of the coast guard, hopeless and condemned in their inutile ways.

***

BARD NOTES: Happy bard-reading to Mayor Chevylle Fariñas, Vice Mayor Michael V. Fariñas, provincial treasurer Josephine Calajate, INWD general manager John Teodoro, Dr. Miramar Bumanglag and PNB Laoag branch manager Metty V. Guerrero. 

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