KISMET. Destiny. Fate. Kapalaran.
Any one of these four synonymous words could very well sum up what Filipinos think of as an explanation for the death and violence from Marawi to Manila that they had heard, seen or read on radio, television and social media the past several days.
With kismet or kapalaran to hold onto in these extremely dangerous times and climes, wonder no more why we, as a people, seem to have turned nonchalant after being shocked to the core, particularly in Metro Manila, by a gunman firing away and burning down a part of Resorts World Manila last week.
Until the next attack or rampage by another lunatic or terrorist that we hope and pray will not visit us anymore because our beloved country is already numb from drugs, corruption and other evils that we have on our plate and which we have been trying to demolish, to no avail it seems.
We have always managed to move on, quite unsurprisingly singing a happy tune, as authorities continue to clear Resorts World of debris and other signs of the tragedy and Lanao del Sur of the terrorist Maute group.
That necessity is the mother of invention appeared to have been proved false in the aftermath of the chaos and fear.
We would have expected that public places, high and low, are guarded more strictly but they apparently are not.
Take, for example, the rail system plying the Santolan (Pasig City)-Recto (Manila)-Santolan route that transports hundreds of thousands of train passengers every day. Bags and other belongings of commuters riding this line are inspected only cursorily and their owners casually waved off by so-called blue guards. These guards have been doing this job for years as if it was the most boring thing in the world.
It is on record that train systems around the world are a prime target of troublemakers carrying knives or bombs (think Spain and Britain) and authorities overseeing the other two rail lines in Metro Manila had better come up with safety measures to match whatever mayhem the bad guys may have in mind now and in the future.
We suggest that the railway authorities review the role of members of the Philippine National Police deployed to the stations of the train systems (usually there are two who are more visible but we don’t know if more are supposed to help man the fort).
Our observation is that these policemen spend all day hunched over their mobile phones or who knows what other electronic gadgets, mostly texting.
Another observation is that K9 units of the PNP assigned to the train stations are not permanently on duty and thus we see their dogs only occasionally.
We recommend that the PNP confiscate these policemen’s mobile phones, unless its chief, Ronald de la Rosa, can convince us that they play a make-or-break role in thwarting the sinister plans of criminal minds.
There might be a technology out there that could prove us right, a software or whatever that could restore deleted messages from every policeman’s mobile phone.
Then, de la Rosa could make these mobile phones undergo a ballistics test of sorts to see who fired away with SMS when they should have been keeping an eye on everything that moved in their places of assignment.
Meanwhile, a few of the malls we have gone to this week seemed to be not strictly guarded, with the blue guards appearing to be more concerned with letting in shoppers in the shortest possible time than deal with the long queues of people who perhaps think that malls would be extinct by the next day.
Guardians of the peace and keeper of order should brush up on how to secure the public more effectively. As the young people would say, level up to what the lowlifes have in mind by being one step ahead of them.
Let us err on the side of caution so that we would not be blaming each other over what hit us and say that we had not been warned.