Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hostage-taking in Manila, not a racist incident

First off, that hostage taking incident in Manila yesterday, was admittedly, an isolated incident.

It could have happened to anyone. It was just unfortunate that most of those tourists were Hongkong citizens.

The hostage taker was not a terrorist. He did not ask political demands. He only wanted authorities to hear him out.

He was neither Sinophobic nor a political activist. Those victims were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. The hostage taking was never directed against Chinese, nor any other nationality. It was just coincidental that most of those victimized by this gruesome crime were Chinese Hongkong citizens.

So, it was quite a shock when the Hongkong government released that black travel advisory.

That advisory was more of a political statement than anything else.

It was also a shock to read nasty racist remarks against Filipinos over the net, mainly written by racist Chinese bloggers and Twitter lovers.

These self-righteous Chinese accused Filipinos of being monkeys and other things unrelated to the incident.

Let me tell these racist pig-eaters that the incident was an isolated one. It was not an attack against Hongkong nor was it an attack against its citizens. Again, let me say that the victims were victims of circumstance. They were at the wrong place and at the wrong time.

And let me remind these self-righteous Chinese that their police force had a nasty record of foibles and mishaps related to hostage taking and other gruesome crimes in the past. Let me remind them of Tiananmen, let me remind them of 1997 incident, and others so many to write here, I need another blog to narrate them one by one.

This is not about race, nor of uncivilised conduct.

This is an isolated crime committed against a group of tourists, period. This is about an incident which was mishandled by some police authorities.

Those victims were not chosen by the hostage taker just because they are Chinese. No. It just unfortunate for them to be at the wrong bus at a wrong time.

Those who presume that this incident was an attack against China or its citizens is stupid.

Lastly, let me also urge fellow Filipinos to refrain from issuing nasty remarks against their fellow filipino, Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza.

Mendoza did not cause this embarrassment. Fact is, at the early stages of the hostage drama, there were signs that Mendoza was acceding to the demands of the negotiators and was probably, himself, hoping for a peaceful outcome, similar to the one which happened several years ago, in the case of Tondo resident Ducut.

Mendoza, it seemed, wanted to dramatize his plight, similar to the one made by Ducut and another who took the airport observation tower a few years ago, only to again, be mowed down by the police.

Mendoza was apparently, a victim of the system. He was a decorated officer. He served his country with zeal for twenty years. He was just fed up with the system.

Mendoza is not, as described by Tourism secretary Bertie Lim, as a crazed man. This remark by Lim is unbecoming of a Cabinet-rank official.

There are many out who suffered or are suffering like Mendoza. They're just looking for the right bus to hold hostage.

President Noynoy Aquino promised a more responsive government, a government that tries to listen to the people. Yet, his action in this hostage taking is proof enough that he lied.  

He lied because he considered Mendoza's hostage-taking incident as a "local" matter, not fit for his executive attention. Is Mendoza so small a concern that our President refused to lend his executive time just to resolve the problem? How about that promise that every single Pinoy is Pnoy's "boss"?

Is our President so busy solving other problems that he forgot that there is someone out there desperate for his attention and help? This brutal incident could have been avoided had he, the President, intervened and assured the hostage taker that he will look into his case?

But no. Mendoza is just a citizen, not a bigtime businessman nor a politician. He was just a formerly decorated officer not fit for Noynoy's time.

Remember that this incident was just a few kilometers away from Malacanang. Malacanang could have sent someone to negotiate after the ten hour limit for hostage crisis situations lapsed.

Who caused this embarrassment? Obviously, the authorities running this government.

First, this government failed to exercise foresight. They treated this incident as a local one, therefore, not a cause of national concern, despite, again, the involvement of tourists. Had government treated this as a national concern and deployed experts in negotiations, the outcome could have been different.

Second, this government failed to mobilize the right people for the job. They presumed that those deployed on the ground were most qualified to deal with hostage situations. It turned out they were incompetent.

Third, this government procrastinated, and as admitted by NCRPO Chief Leo Santiago, even became overconfident since a fellow cop was involved. The police underestimated the hostage taker. Or, let me say it forthright---the police even caused the instigation which led to this gruesome outcome.

As always, it is our government that had caused this international embarrassment. We are paying them good taxes, but what do they do with it? They steal it to enrich themselves. They fail to provide good materiel to our police force.

And what do we always say when serious incidents such as these happen? Let this be a lesson blah-blah-blah. I am sick and tired of hearing this from our authorities.

For those out there, especially Hongkong citizens, please, be objective.

Don't blame us Filipinos, blame our authorities. It is our government who is the cause of our own embarrassment. Fact is, sympathize with us, while we suffer from the ignominy of having an inept government that is more concerned with style and porma and propaganda than anything else.