[EDITORIALS]Unclog the systemAfter unprecedented damage to the country’s industrial transportation from the independent truckers’ strike, President Roh Moo-hyun said there was a vacuum in the government’s ability to respond to crisis situations. The government is at work to establish an improved crisis management system. That is much better than not doing anything at all, but the prescription can be written only when there is a clear diagnosis. The government is trying to blame the entire issue on the absence of a crisis management system. That is disappointing.
The transportation crisis arose from the government’s inability to make crisis management mechanisms work, not problems in the systems themselves. The president and his aides had the responsibility to do all they could to prevent a crisis of this scale, and if it happened, to contain it effectively. Had the Blue House paid attention to the seriousness of the problem when there were indications of trouble in October and when the situation deteriorated in March, there would not have been a crisis of this magnitude.
There is an administrative command center at the Blue House, where information is gathered from the police and intelligence. Why wasn’t it used?
The prime minister has a coordination office, and economic ministers meet every week. They should have been able to deal with the truckers’ complaints, but they didn’t. The problem, again, is not the lack of a system, but either the inability or the unwillingness of the government to use it.
The truckers’ strike and its consequences were made worse because the leaders and the agencies responsible chose to keep their hands off and not do what should have been done. The government’s first job should be to find out why the crisis management system was not activated. Is the Blue House capable of detecting signs of trouble? Does the prime minister have the mandate he needs to do his job? There should be a review of whether the government’s preoccupation with reform is encouraging government workers to become passive. We don’t need a new system; we need a plumber’s friend to unclog it.