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Quitting the Blind-Mute-Deaf Habit

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Submitted By matricsneo
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The maritime industry hasn’t changed a bit from the start of shipping up to present. Though there are innovations, they are mainly on ship construction, facilities and equipment advancements and on human resource competence through added training and education; these are in response to the constant nuances and the inevitable modernization of society. What remained consistent then? Personnel interaction.

Ships were first utilized generally as means for transportation on water and for food through fishing. Eventually, they were used to defend a nation’s territorial waters, hence, the navy… military… With this, customs and traditions for discipline and standard decorum were devised — now, not only observed in the military (navy) but in the merchant shipping as well… already the conventional.

The Rank-has-its-own-privilege (RHIP) concept lived on. Any other hierarchical institution observes this as well but in the military (navy), it’s a lot more different… especially when misused, disused and abused.

Most maritime schools in the country are implementing semi-regimented or close-to-such training through the National Service Training Program (NSTP) by way of the Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (NROTC). Here, the chain of command is always observed as well as the ‘boss is always right; when in doubt, refer to the previous statement’ and the ‘take-and-take’ principles.

A simple survey was conducted on ten MAAP midshipmen from the graduating class and they were asked if they ever found opportunity to defend themselves from inappropriate treatment and erroneously-structured labor administration by their superiors during their one-year shipboard training. A hundred percent (100%) answered, ‘No’. There were as well additional comments like, “It’s actually part of the training in MAAP ¬— take and take!” “The boss is always right and when in doubt refer to the previous statement.” and “We are still too little to go against the big ones.” This has been the country’s epidemic ever since the time of Spanish colonization.

Citing excerpts from the country’s laws: Article III (Bill of rights) of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states, “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the Government for redress of grievances.” What then hinders people from expressing their concerns?

Implied as the rules may appear but the Filipino people tend not to fully exercise human rights despite the precise construction and stringent implementation of the laws. Why? Filipinos are blind not to see violations and deviations from the law. They are mute not to speak of anything out from their ill observations. They are deaf not to hear cries out of exploitations and oppressions. Change in approach or sudden recovery from numbness happens only when the Filipino is the one directly afflicted.

Take-and-take. It’s nothing really that damaging to a subordinate’s dignity as it is to be supposedly observed with righteous consideration to parties. It is not entirely total submission but rather an act of humility and of loyalty by the subordinates and an incentive for responsibility to the bosses. Therefore, it is of due regard that it be maintained this way and not be administered by force. Rather it is to be instilled by example, without the presence of fear and out of respect. Problem is, it is widely abused. And when abused, it actually deters progress in the development of one’s (the subordinate’s) leadership. The Filipino people until now are so interdependent to foreign aid. This is happening, for what most of the Filipinos did in the past, under their colonizers, was to ‘take-and-take’. They were blind… mute… deaf.

Like Catholicism as depicted by Rizal in his satires, there is nothing wrong with systems in negatively branded institutions, the flaws are with the ones implementing these systems. The youth of today are needed. The past cannot be changed so it is better to manipulate the future. Education for the youth is highly stressed because of the hope that they would someday do all the changes for betterment; that they would lead the overthrow of unworthy and abusive leaders, politicians, hypocrites, chameleons…

“Where are the youth who will consecrate their golden hours, their illusions, and their enthusiasm to the welfare of their native land? Where are the youth who will generously pour out their blood to wash away so much shame, so much crime, so much abomination? … We await you, O youth! Come, for we await you.” (Dr. J.P. Rizal through Father Florentino, El Filibusterismo 1891)

-Siegfred Philip Semblante

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