By: Dr. Ramon Ricardo A. Roque, CESOI, Diplomate
The strategy of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to use “undercover passengers” in apprehending taxi drivers who resort to the illegal fare-contracting scheme is simple and effective. The same strategy should be used by other government agencies with law enforcement mandate. It can also be an effective strategy in dealing with the corruption problem in government.
Following the law has, to a significant extent, been a mere option, if not just an outright suggestion, to many because of the less-than-desired quality of enforcement in our country. For some law enforcers, doing their job effectively has either been a mere option as well or a hindrance for enriching themselves through corrupt practices.
If the government is really serious about law enforcement and solving the corruption and inefficiency problems, using the “undercover strategy” will go a long way.
The strategy has been used in police work and has been proven effective because it is essentially about taking control away from lawbreakers and catching them off guard. The same strategy has been employed and proven effective in the business sector as well, particularly in the aspects of operations control and customer service.
The strategy can be applied to many aspects of government operations. It can be applied to instill discipline among drivers of public utility vehicles. LTFRB showed how its use is effective in apprehending taxi drivers who take advantage of tourists and balikbayans through the illegal contracting scheme. It can be used to apprehend public utility vehicle drivers who are violating traffic rules and regulations.
The strategy can also be applied at the Bureau of Customs as there can be undercover brokers and importers and at the Bureau of Internal Revenue with undercover taxpayers with liabilities.
But while the strategy is good, its effectiveness will depend on the integrity of the “undercover agents” as they can very well make the problems worse if they end up “selling” their covers.
If the government is serious in solving corruption and improving law enforcement in our country and if cause-oriented groups, particularly those who advocate good governance, they can partner in using this and other similar strategies.
If things do not work as they should in our government, strategies should be changed. Changing strategies does not always mean formulating new ones. It can also mean adopting old ones, particularly those that have proven to be effective. In most cases, old strategies just need a little tweaking for them to deliver the desired results.