Thursday, February 17, 2011


Gossip is almost like a living thing. It grows changes and almost has a life of its own. Good gossip seems to have a short life and dies young; but bad gossip changes, grows, gets uglier and never seems to die. Bad gossip distorts reality and causes people to look for and see the worst even when it does not exist. The story of that drunken shirtless fat foreigner sitting at a boulevard bar is believed even when it never happened, because many of us expect them to be fat, drunken and shirtless. The lie that Visayans are lazy is believed to be true in some corners of the Philippines (i.e. Aguinaldo’s “History of the Philippines’’) when the “hard working” truth is plain to see just by looking around Dumaguete City.

The local police are victims of this bad gossip. I cannot count the number of crooked police stories I have heard. You almost never hear about honest cops; just the ones that take bribes and extort money. It is time to set the record straight. Most police officers are hardworking and honest. They believe in justice and try, despite frustration, to safe guard the public and punish the criminals.

Take the Bacong police as an example. A friend of mine had two encounters with the Bacong police and both times they demonstrated that truth and justice was their primary concern.

A speeding motorcycle rammed into the back of my friend’s halted vehicle. Despite the testimony of many observers who said it was the “foreigners” fault, they determined, from the physical evidence, it was the speeding motorcyclist fault and cited him accordingly. They made him pay for the damages.

On a second similar traffic accident the guilty driver failed to pay for the damages as he had promised. When the authorities in his community were “not able to find” the guilty driver, the Bacong police drove over 60 kilometers and arrested him in his home. Even in America it is rare for police to pursue justice with so much dedication. There were no bribes. There were no attempts to extort money. The Bacong police were ONLY motivated by a quest for truth and justice.

I know good gossip is not as much fun as bad gossip; but good gossip builds a stronger community and creates mutual respect. If you cannot kill the bad gossip at least do not spread it, instead let’s keep good gossip alive. Let’s honor the Bacong police and other selfless heroes in our community.

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