Houston, we have a problem

Floro L. Mercene Floro L. Mercene

By Floro L. Mercene


The series of mistakes attributed to the Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) exposed a hidden flaw that lies at the heart of our bureaucracy.

We have a shallow bench. The typographical error, mislabeled caption and the lack of geographical knowledge coming one after another from an office that is supposed to provide us “information” not misinformation indicates mental deficiency.

Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Esther Margaux “Mocha” Uson’s mislabeling of Mt. Mayon’s location in Naga City in Camarines Sur instead of Albay province seems to have started the fad.

Then the former “sex guru”-turned-political blogger stirred another controversy on social media, this time for using a picture of men in uniform allegedly passed off as Filipinos but who turned out to be Central American policemen.

But what takes the cake was a Palace press release referring to outgoing Norwegian Ambassador Erik Førner as from “Norwegia,” or calling the late Paranaque Congressman and once National Security Adviser Roilo Golez “Rogelio,”

And the blame should be laid on the altar of FB, facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media that has infected the vulnerable minds of a gullible public.

People generally believed what they read. And this belief becomes dangerous when the sources are the various forms of social media platforms that do not go through an editor or a gatekeeper.

But the Palace press release on Norway? Surely, it must have been edited?

Then the shallow bench analogy kicks in.

Since meritocracy is not our cup of tea and many of those in government are appointees, then we will always get the kind of civil servant that we deserve.

Which may mean that if he or she is not corrupt, then he or she is inept, or both.

“Houston we have a problem.”

This conversation between the astronaut on the damaged Apollo 13 and the ground controller in Houston, Texas, way back in the 70s may indicate our real problem.

The solution is to junk our padrino system and start getting civil servants that would go through a battery of tests.

Just like what Lee Kuan Yew does in Singapore.