MANILA - Honesty is certainly the best policy, but it's also a difficult policy, as a police district's experiment with an "honesty store" shows.
Superintendent Carlo Manuel, spokesperson of the Manila Police District (MPD), acknowledged on Thursday that "dishonest" acts, in particular, theft, affected their honesty store, but added that the ones responsible were not cops.
According to Manuel, they temporarily closed the store to give way to events last December, but they plan to reopen it by the end of January.
"To give way doon sa mga occasion namin... Alam niyo naman na dati mayroon talagang mga insidenteng ninakawan 'yong honesty store," Manuel said.
(It was closed to give way to occasions. You know already that before, there were incidents of stealing in the honesty store.)
For instance, around P10,000 worth of items and money were stolen from the store in August 2018.
It was later discovered that the culprit was not a policeman but a helper in the MPD headquarters.
A newspaper yesterday quoted MPD Finest Brotherhood Cooperative General Manager Ester Tan as also blaming "nameless people who just get money from the box as if it is their personal ATM machine."
She said some patrons did not pay the right amount, while others didn't get the right change. She also disclosed that the store was losing P500 to P1,000 a month.
Manuel added that the purpose of the store is to showcase the honesty of Manila policemen.
"Hindi naman for business actually. Para i-showcase 'yong honesty ng MPD, showcase 'yong pagiging honest ng mga police sa MPD," he said.
(It's actually not for business. It's to showcase the honesty of MPD, the honesty of the members of MPD.)
He, however, said that in case of financial losses, the MPD will be forced to permanently close the store.
"Although hindi natin ine-expect 'yong kita, we have to sustain iyong fund nito (honesty store) para makabili, umikot 'yong pondo. So kung nalulugi, di rin natin maitutuloy 'yan," Manuel said.
(Although we are not expecting it to earn, we have to sustain the funds to buy new supplies. If we end up losing funds, then we wouldn't be able to sustain it.)
There are several honesty stores in different parts of the country. One of the most popular is the Honesty Coffee Shop in Batanes, which has been featured in several shows and movies.
The one in Batanes includes these reminders:
1) Get what you need
2) Please pay whatever you get
3) If you have no change, knock at the next door. If no one answers, sorry, so you give more than the price. MAY YOUR TRIBE INCREASE.
4) Remember HONEST IS THE BEST POLICY.
-- report from Michael Delizo, ABS-CBN News