MINDSET VERSUS REALITY
Whoever suggested that the police (read SAF) will be used to arrest fugitive terrorist Marwan in the jungle of Mindanao must be conscience stricken by now, or probably petrified at the time when 44 young policemen were being massacred.
Besides that, there is war going on in the area, hence the struggle to grab some kind of truce, like exploring political avenues, BBL and all.
No matter how astounding they would dress up the police officers and make them soldier look-like, they simply do not fit the bill. Policemen are trained in urban complications and never in jungle combat situations.
Let us accept it. Only those in the Army, okay, the Marines are trained to conduct warfare in the jungles or elsewhere within the same condition. They can live off the cultured land, stay for months deep into an unforgiving and treacherous woodland and subsist on anything the forest could offer.
The police never had such comprehensive jungle survival training, well, except rolling in muddy streams for a day or two during drills.
Policemen needed civilisation to function competently. They needed people in the same way that people needs them. Their job is to prevent crime, protect people from the sophistication of offensive acts and promote order.
Giving them orders to penetrate the wilderness is like commanding them to get into the bottom of the sea after a sleepless night.
The confusion on which agency should get into action given a sensitive undertaking can be traced back since Martial Law days. PMA graduates, those trained in soldierly missions, were given ranks in the field of law enforcement. In no time, PMAers were given star position more than those trained in advanced civilian courses. They did not only introduce a culture of warfare in the field of police work, they even initiated a change in their mandated outlook. Hence, policemen would project the persona of a warrior, one brandishing outlandish caliber of firearms, a bandolier of ammunition and would even request that they be given tanks rather than patrol cars.
On the streets, they were virtually in search of enemies to take down. And the civilians are in awe looking at the police looking more like a combatant. And the police would lap it up. In the process, the law enforcement agency would organize a troop that would quack like a soldier too, the so called Special Forces. This group would simulate combat readiness as if they will be sent on a mission to bring down enemies of the State. But there is something lacking in their system; they are not soldiers whose orientation is to take no prisoner. They are oriented foremost with engaging criminal elements and bringing them to court as prisoners.
The mindset of the police and the military are a world apart. Even if they are thrown into different serious challenges, it is their basic orientation that will manifest. It is in dealing with reality that they will prove their respective worth or otherwise.
How come the families of the massacred policemen were wailing and complaining? But of course, their loved ones were given mission outside of their competence. Their complaints should sound as reminder for government to be assiduous in determining which assignment should go to what group.
Ineptitude is always fatal.