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Has anybody heard of Foreign National Keepers Network (FNKN)?


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For a second, consecutive time, I have been invited to attend a meeting of an association called the Foreign National Keepers Network. As I learned from my first meeting, they are an association, entirely composed of foreign nationals residing in the Philippines, created and managed by the Intelligence Branch of the Philippine National Police (PNP). 

FNKN is essentially supposed to relieve the burden of tracing and communicating with foreigners in case of emergency, e.g. an earthquake or a major climate event. They are supposed to provide logistic support, e.g. make their trucks and even homes available to help fellow expats, translation to non-English/Tagalog-speaking foreigners, tracing via mobile phones etc.

Quite an essential service, by foreigners for foreigners, which the hopelessly underfunded PNP requires (and sometimes gets) for free.

They have a pretty basic webpage, maintained by their Lapu-lapu chapter. This is what they say about themselves...

 

Quote

Late in 2013 when Yolanda struck there were thousands killed and injured due to the storm. The carnage triggered a large number of inquiries by foreign embassy’ concerning their citizens vacationing or residing in the Philippines. These inquiries were from friends and relatives of the Ex-Pats concerned about their safety and wellbeing. Because of the damage to the communication system from the storm the folks at home were unable to contact their loved ones in the Philippines and did not know their status. Even when the systems were repaired and restored after the storm communication was difficult as the system was overloaded because of the number of calls being made. The embassy’s request for information was a low priority for the Police compared to body recovery and identification, assisting storm victims with shelter and food, and protecting property from possible looting. At the same time the people at home waited and waited for any word of their loved ones as they watched the results of the destruction from the disaster on their television news. Some of the relatives went to the step of flying to the disaster area to personally search for their loved ones.

 

In March 2014 the PNP formed the Foreign National Keeper Network in Manila and directed it to be a nationwide asset of the PNP. It was formed to organize groups of Ex-Pats to be available in the event of disaster/emergency to aid the PNP. This aid would be in the form of locating other Ex-Pats and confirming their status, reporting back to the PNP so the information can be relayed to the embassy of the individual. This task would be tackled after the Keeper has made sure their own family is safe and their situation is stable.

Keeper members of various nationalities may be called upon to assist the PNP with translation work if an Ex-Pat is a victim of a crime and cannot speak English or Tagalog (ex. Chinese, Korean). The keeper will assist the Ex-Pat in reporting the crime to the PNP and relay the information from the PNP Officer to the crime victim. The Keepers are also encouraged to have their fellow nationals register with their respective embassy so they may have an idea how to contact in the event of an emergency. The keeper may also be asked to help in the event a family emergency in the home country of an Ex-Pat. With the Keeper aware of the location of other Ex-Pats he can direct the PNP to the location of the Ex-Pat needing notification of the death of illness of a loved one in the home country.

 

The members enjoy having the personal contact with the Major and other high ranking PNP Officers and the opportunity to freely express their concerns related to Police matters. The meetings are also a good place to make new friends of other Ex-Pats from various backgrounds. The meetings are limited to the Keeper members and their prospective member guest.

 

Membership is limited to Foreign Nationals of good character with no serious criminal conviction in Philippines or any other country. Member must have legal passport and visa.

Members are on a 3 month probation period during which time they are expected to attend the monthly meetings unless they have an excused absence. The membership process includes a formal application with 2 passport type photos.  The applicant will be interviewed by the Foreign Liaison Officer. The new member will be formally introduced at the next monthly meeting to the group. At the end of the 3 month probation period the new member will receive their PNP Volunteer Identification Card. Depending on the chapter, a membership fee will be collected at each meeting.

 

The FNKN offers an official platform to build a personal relationship with your local PNP officers and links you with like-minded expats. It provides expats with a forum to express their concern to the PNP regarding matters in the community. It further serves as a platform for expats to become positively involved in the local community and to serve in the event of disaster striking.

 

The Davao City chapter meets every month in Catalunan. As I have learned, they are one of the few active chapters in the Philippines, and proudly so. I only attended one meeting so far, in Davao, and the first impression was very positive. Quite a few smart men, mostly in their 50s and beyond, some of whom with previous careers in public safety and security. All positive, with a "let's do it", no-BS attitude. Miles away from the Rotary Clubs I used to turn up to years ago, where all the blah-blah and the rituals would usually lead to very little factual help.

Anybody here is a member of a FNKN chapter, or had something to do with them in the past? If so, any experience sharing?

 

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Edited by Gandang Smile
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 Always! beware of any Foreigner Collective meetings on anything Political, They have a BIG Brother attitude here :tiphat: and I think it is wrong to Post such things here IMHO:whatever:

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39 minutes ago, Jack Peterson said:

 Always! beware of any Foreigner Collective meetings on anything Political, They have a BIG Brother attitude here :tiphat: and I think it is wrong to Post such things here IMHO:whatever:

Legit concern, but I didn't detect any political colours during the meeting. I think this is just a collective of foreigners who are tasked to provide specific assistance to other foreigners in case of calamity, since PNP - for their own admission - don't have the resources to do it.

What I learned from the Davao meeting is that they also engage in charitable projects to help fellow Filipinos in the communities they belong to, in this case the Davao region.

Maybe one meeting isn't enough time with them to get a clear idea. I am going to see them again next Thursday. In Davao, at least, they meet on the first Thursday of every month.

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I wouldn't trust a single PNP officer as far as I could throw him, and the last thing the Phils government want is foreigners sticking their noses in their business...unless it's to DONATE. 

Low profile for me, thanks. I know my place in this country. 

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well at least they kept aboveboard and went with "National" rather than "Underground"

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, graham59 said:

I wouldn't trust a single PNP officer as far as I could throw him, and the last thing the Phils government want is foreigners sticking their noses in their business...unless it's to DONATE. 

Low profile for me, thanks. I know my place in this country. 

Well, that's exactly what it's all about - foreigners volunteering their time and resources to do some of the work PNP should be doing but don't have the time and/or resources (probably more of the latter!) to do.

Viewing it in a very cynical way, like some of us long-term settlers are used to, it's the Philippine government saying "we know you're here, living among us, but we can't be bothered helping you if s*it hits the fan, so do your volunteering and help yourselves". 

In a more benign and more generic way, it's yet another case of private enterprise stepping in to do or supplement the Government's work. It happens a lot with private companies of any size, down to the smallest charities, helping the less fortunate locals. So nothing really new under the sun.

Edited by Gandang Smile
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It is a catchy acronym))) Mutual self help can be a positive thing. I would probably check it out if there was a group close to where we'll be living.

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This is probably harmless, and could be a good program, but anytime I see "monitor" and "government" in the same paragraph, whelp little alarm bells start going off.:Caught:

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42 minutes ago, scott h said:

This is probably harmless, and could be a good program, but anytime I see "monitor" and "government" in the same paragraph, whelp little alarm bells start going off.:Caught:

Many many years ago I worked for the Military department.  Whenever someone would show up and say "we are just here to help you" I knew I was screwed.  :bash:

 

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