Friday, November 30, 2007

A friend's incisve post-Peninsula commentary


As you read this, you would have heard that the government was able to resolve this crisis. There will be the usual charges of government's use of excessive force especially the round up of media. Unfortunately, most of those rounded up are from ABS-CBN (10) as GMA 7 had only 2 people inside the hotel. Curfew was imposed from 12MN-5AM.

My assessment:

1) People in the Philippines should get used to decisive leadership. Yes, this administration will make mistakes as the bureaucracy is not used to it. However, its comforting to know that they are capable of at least good tactics.

2) Trillanes should be expelled by his fellow Senators but of course they won't. They will instead focus on the curfew and the round-up of journalists. Trillanes is a media creation. This guy is just a 1st LT Senior Grade. He didn't even command a battalion. He is definitely wet behind his ears and is no Gringo. Its a good thing he is not in the military. I wouldn't want to be in his platoon as they will just get massacred by the NPA or MILF. Moreover, with a little show of force, he backs out. The APC moving in the hotel plus tear gas was a brilliant tactical move. Obviously, he did it for showbiz effects and is a lousy strategist. He has compromised the country and has done the most upatriotic act. To think, as Senator, the taxpayers would shoulder at least Php 200M for his budget.

3) Watch media turn this into an event about themselves. Especially that ABS-CBN was impacted the most as 10 of their people were hauled to Bicutan. GMA 7 had only 2 guys inside the hotel. Senators will definely pounce on the curfew and "perceived" attack on press freedom. Yeah right. Though they were hauled, they were free to take pictures and make calls on their cell. What do you do with people who are chasing their stories and are between the authorities and the criminals. If they want their stories, they should be behind the authorities and not serve as human shields.

4) Curfew and rounding up the media may be a little excessive but the PNP is not known to be finesse players. But we need to learn. PNP were able to round up 2 more Magdalo guys at the Pen, hours after the incident. Follow-through is what we Filipinos lack and at least we are showing signs of improvement with the mopping up and curfew.

5) Government has improved on the PR front by sending cabinet secretaries to TV and Radio. One thing GMA lacks is a really good Press team as you pointed out. They keep losing the perception game. ABS has an act to grind now as they bore the brunt. Expect Maria Rezza to unleash her news team and anchors. Expect more slant in their stories more than ever.

6) Now, government must scale back to gain some points. They will be questioned about the return of Martial Law and the like. They should just repeat their official line and bear the brick-bats. Curfew should not be reimposed.

Hope things are quiet in Tucson.

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