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Damrongdharma Centers for resolution of smaller problems

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DAMRONGDHARMA CENTER
Centers for resolution of smaller problems

KRIS BHROMSUTHI
THE NATION
BANG BUA THONG, NONTHABURI

BANGKOK: -- DAMRONGDHARMA centres have re-emerged since the junta came to power. Under a National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) order its mission has expanded far beyond its original intent to "bring happiness back to the people".

These centres are one of the main places where the NCPO has direct contact with grassroots people, one that can draw genuine support and affection if they achieve what they set out to do. But they must first overcome obstacles and challenges.

The centres also provide a "service link" which means people with any problem can lodge an appeal to the centre, it will then contact a relevant organisation or department to solve the problem.

Hence it looks to provide a "one-stop service". They also act as information centres, providing two-way communication between people and the NCPO.

The Nation visited the Damrongdharma centre in Bang Bua Thong district - one of the prototype centres in Nonthaburi province, to see the centre in operation.

"People come to seek help with all sorts of problems, big or small, we hope to solve them all," district chief Apinan Puakpong said.

He said some small problems can be solved by giving out advice. But bigger issues such as reports on drug dealing, criminal cases or gambling had to be dealt with by mobile military units.

The centre has received more than 50 drug-related requests, which led to over 150 arrests and the confiscation of more than 5,000 amphetamine pills.

Mobile military unit personnel came from the Seventh Air Defence Regiment. One of their key tasks was to capture the drug-dealing network, which is widespread in the area.

Meanwhile, Bang Bua Thong is an industrial area where there are over 500 factories; sometimes they create pollution that affect nearby neighbourhoods. "Within two weeks of us contacting one factory about people's complaints, they installed a filter system and the problem was solved," Apinan said.

There are other complaints that have been received that had led to prosecutions such as informal debtors and illegal immigrants.

Success

A key element in the Damrongdharma centres' success and re-emergence is the support they get from the NCPO and the Interior Minister.

NCPO order number 96 calls for, under the direct responsibility of the provincial governor, the establishment of a centre in every province in order to accept appeals and complaints with the support and coordination of any relevant ministries and departments where the provincial governor has the authority to direct them. They also receive financial support from the Budget Bureau.

Vibul Sanguanpong, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Interior, last month ordered provincial governors from all over the country to draw roadmaps for development of Damrongdharma centres.

Vibul conducted a strict inspection and revealed that centres had been set up in every province and district throughout the country and local residents had become aware of their existence and engaged with the centres. More inspections will follow and he said provincial governors would be responsible for supervising development of the centres.

Obstacles and shortcomings

Despite considerable success since the re-emergence of the Damrongdharma centres since the military coup on May 22, they still have many shortcomings and need financial and legal backing if they are to achieve their noble goal.

There is a limit to the centres' scope as certain problems are beyond their capability. Most of the issues the centres can solve are "bread and butter" daily problems, while national, policy level issues are beyond their reach.

Asked what the centre would do if a person complains about the high price of oil, Apinan admitted they would not be able to solve this problem as this is a policy level issue.

"All we could do is to record the complaint and send it to the NCPO to acknowledge the issue, we can't do much more."

There are also financial constraints. "We received no expenditure budget for creating and operating the centre," said the district chief, "we do what we can with the centre and received some help from local and provincial administrators.

"Most of the receptionists working for the centre are on short-term contracts. They receive only Bt6,900 a month and how much can you do with that?"

Northern provinces report to the Interior Ministry, and are headed by Chiang Mai governor, Suriya Prasatbuntitya, who earlier stated that a centre is not a unit within a normal bureaucratic structure, therefore lacks financial support and human recruitment capacity.

The report also suggests other ministries may not be fully informed about the centres and may thus |be reluctant to provide full cooperation.

Cooperation between public organisations in some areas is key to the success of Damrongdharma centres.

"Sometimes I ask certain organisations to help out with certain tasks but they ignore my requests, what can I do? I have no authority to order them," Apinan said.

He suggested that law amendments or a direct order from the NCPO to empower district administration could solve this problem.

There is also a problem of public awareness, as many people did not appear to know about the centres, as stated by northern provincial governors.

Therefore, a public relations campaign to promote the centres may need to be arranged.

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Centers-for-resolution-of-smaller-problems-30243281.html

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-- The Nation 2014-09-15

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There is a "Justice of the Peace" system that works quite well in Canada. Keep minor matters out of

the courts and lawyers hands. This is an expansion on the concept. Use a practical interpretation

on minor social problem and try to solve in a practical way easing the load on the court system.

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There is a "Justice of the Peace" system that works quite well in Canada. Keep minor matters out of

the courts and lawyers hands. This is an expansion on the concept. Use a practical interpretation

on minor social problem and try to solve in a practical way easing the load on the court system.

A judge JUDY of TV fame is a brilliant idea, wish the UK had this, here especially.

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Curious...will they assist and provide help to foreign expats and foreign tourists or only thais? Please clarify clearly. The Tourists Police here is does not assist foreigners only thais when there are disputes or problems involving foreigners like in the case of jet ski scams, the tourists polices "help" by telling the foreigners how much to pay to the Thai Jet Ski scammers!

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Curious...will they assist and provide help to foreign expats and foreign tourists or only thais? Please clarify clearly. The Tourists Police here is does not assist foreigners only thais when there are disputes or problems involving foreigners like in the case of jet ski scams, the tourists polices "help" by telling the foreigners how much to pay to the Thai Jet Ski scammers!

Seemingly the tourist police are just making life more lazy for the BIB. directions--information help---who to call---They have 2 protection projects--priority is to help the Thai first---then possibly give some assistance to tourists. Little power--but it is said they have near the same power as the BIB.

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Well done Royal Thai Police! You've done your job so well that the Army has to set up these centers to do your job for you!

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Can someone let them know about the jet ski scam, oh ... and the noise next door and the environment problem and pollution and gangsters and other things ...

but I love thailand :-)

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ah, a companion piece to the other fine reportage regarding the woman who hasnt yet got her money back.

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<script type='text/javascript'>window.mod_pagespeed_start = Number(new Date());</script>

There is a "Justice of the Peace" system that works quite well in Canada. Keep minor matters out of

the courts and lawyers hands. This is an expansion on the concept. Use a practical interpretation

on minor social problem and try to solve in a practical way easing the load on the court system.

States in the United States have Small Claims Courts or Courts of Equity - value of claims is usually below a nominal value such as $5,000 but can also cover nonmonetary contractural issues. The basic cost to a plaintiff is small, ie., $20. Only out of pocket losses, charges, wages, damages, or property can be recovered plus reasonable expenses such as travel to the court, court fees, and cost of a subpoena. It typically does not allow for pain and suffering or business loss - for that one would have to file in civil court. A complaintant can have the defendent subpoenaed by police to appear in court; the judge decides on the merit of both sides and issues an immediate judgement. Witnesses can be brought in by either side. Process is usually less than an hour. A successful litigant gets a court order for award or action which can be used to seize assts by police if payment isn't made or arrest as obstruction of justice. One must represent themselves in Court - no attorneys are allowed before the judge.

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These Centers would provide a valuable service to the public for quick resolutions to SMALL ISSUES. They must comply with Thailand's civil organic laws and the (time-stamped) constitution.

But NCPO mission "creep" to involve itself in the operation of these centers is essentially a step toward the permanent militarization of the country by the military embedding itself into people's day-to-day civil affairs. It could take the control of the military's Supreme Commander beyond the organs of national governance (ie., ministers) down to the grassroots of citizen's personal lives - a governance for which the rule of law may well be the flavor of the day depending on who is appointed to or removed from the military Chain of Command for which citizens have no representation or recall. If such use of military authority gets out of control, Thailand will make Syria seem to be the greater democratic nation.

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