I have to hand it to the people in charge, they never seem to run out of things to say or do to completely baffle the entire nation. Today, I woke up to the following news on the DZMM TeleRadyo’s official twitter page:

Original tweet here.

Reading this is just absolutely painful for me. The rider is clearly seen in the photo to be in handcuffs. He has taken the fall for something he absolutely had no hand in. Delivery riders don’t open the packages. They are not equipped with devices to sniff out illegal contents. They pick up the package, find the address on the waybill, and then drop it off to whomever it belongs. Transaction complete. Time for the next one. The report on the DZMM says that the rider’s defense was that they didn’t know the package had any illegal contents. No shit. That’s not an excuse; that’s a job description.

I guess one question this has raised for me is that delivery services tend to have logistics hubs to sort outgoing packages for delivery. You know how when you order something from Shopee, and in the middle of the package being delivered to you, it will often show it being taken into some “sorting center”? That’s how logistics companies typically operate. They don’t dispatch riders straight into airports to pick up a package for delivery, because that would entail far too much travel for a single transaction, which wouldn’t be cost effective. Logistics companies depend on scale to make their operations profitable. And that means first collecting all outgoing packages into a single hub, and at that hub clustering them according to geographical proximity. A rider comes in to pick up a batch of deliveries from the hub, that way he’ll be fulfilling more than one transaction in a single trip.

Taken from the FedEx website.

FedEx, the brand showing on the box in the photos, has 75 locations just in the vicinity of the NAIA according to their official website. But this particular rider, at least according to the report by the DZMM, not only did not pick up the package from any of these sites, but directly from the airport. This odd little detail hasn’t caught the attention of anyone as of writing, but a number of users reacting to the DZMM’s twitter post are already calling out the story as staged. While the poor delivery guy is being drilled unnecessarily by the PDEA on the contents of the package he wasn’t even supposed to touch, for some reason the package, which had come in from Canada, ought to have been subjected to real screening measures in place by departments that actually have the authority to perform them – in particular the – scoffs – Bureau of Customs.

Original tweet here.

The weirdest part, for pretty much everyone who got wind of the story, is that both the app and the package’s waybill contain information on the sender and the recipient of the package. There is zero need for any follow-up “investigation” on the part of the PDEA. They need only look into that piece of paper glued to the FedEx box, and they should find everything they need: names, addresses, even contact information in most cases. Which means nagging the delivery worker, taking him into their office, and then doing a release complete with photos for the press has now only alerted both recipient and sender, and obliterated their chances of catching anyone actually involved in this shenanigan. Maybe the PDEA thought they would earn kudos points from the public for this announcement, but we can’t look past all that wasted education.

Apparently this is the department that has been appointed by Duterte (the PDEA works under the supervision of the Office of the President) to protect the public in his war against drugs. I’ve never been a supporter of what I’ve always seen as the highly unscientific, band-aid solutions taken on this war effort (if anything, really a foreshadowing of the unscientific, band-aid solutions being taken on the other war they’ve been fighting against COVID-19), this isn’t in any way changing my opinion on the matter. It’s not convincing anyone else either, except maybe for the trolls who I’m sure would be picking up their scripts in no time.

This paints the department in no good light, as pretty much a department too preoccupied with going after defenseless fall guys like the poor delivery man above instead of actually taking on any strategic action to hurt the bottom-line of those running the show. A department that would rather jump on the opportunity of receiving a pat in the back from the media instead of actually getting their job done right (remember, this whole release has pretty much destroyed their chances of actually coming after the perpetrators). I hope they don’t seriously think they’d done the masses a service with this, because this isn’t it, boys. This just isn’t it.

Published by Dominic Dayta

Dominic Dayta is a statistician and short story writer. His fiction has appeared or are forthcoming in The Brasilia Review, Philippines Graphic, TAYO Literary Magazine, and Liwayway. He lives in the Philippines.

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