Thursday, August 26, 2010

Message to the Philippines: Learning the Hard Way

No words can describe the infamous hostage-taking incident that unfolded before the world on the 23rd of August.

What could've been a shining moment for the Philippines quickly melted into a disastrous pot of embarassment. And who's at fault? Everyone present at the scene that tragic Monday evening: the ill-prepared SWAT team, the scoop-hungry media, and the curious bystanders who think they won't get in the way of the entire operation.

Rolando Mendoza was only one perfectly disturbed and delusional former policeman who obviously didn't premeditate much on what he did. He just had everything he needed to stir things up: he had an assault rifle and he managed to get a bus of tourists. He's a wuss compared to terrorists, but sure, he's still dangerous. Hostage takers are potentially homicidal and suicidal at best. The whole thing was handled so poorly.

Let's start with the most obvious thing they should have dealt with first: crowd control.

There was no coordination or communication at all to prevent bystanders coming within a 50-foot barge pole at the scene. A little boy was hit by a stray bullet! This fact pisses me off- isn't it enough we have incompetent cops and now we have incompetent parents or guardians? A sensible person would take caution if a hostage-taking scene is unraveling. Apparently in this country, a dramatic hostage-taking is synonymous to a local celebrity. We just have to come close to it and say "I was there!"
To the people who were part of the curious crowd that time: you were mostly obstruction to the entrance/exit of police and medical personnel. You practically put all of your lives in danger. And you were also a great inconvenience. I hope you are all proud of yourselves.

The PNP had 9 hours to prepare a strategy to rescue the hostages and prepare an assault for Mendoza. But what the hell happened? Sulong, Wait, Atras, and Tago is what happened. They had no strategy. They did not think of the worst-case scenario. The BBC news anchor summed up the entire event with his comment, "The Manila cop seems overly cautious." That was painful.

To the scoop-loving media. Screw you guys. Remember that Manila Peninsula siege and you all whined about how you're just doing your job when the police hauled you off? You're all just really white noise and babies who need a story without thinking of the consequences of your actions. Now you've learned the hard way. You gave Mendoza the advantage of seeing everything going on around him. In the first place, you media retards just want to out-scoop each other without even having the brain cell to think what you're doing is botching the entire rescue operation. There was not one media person there who practiced responsible journalism. This must be the best time of your careers.

Then again, there wasn't really any operation going on. I guess the PNP people just went "meh, let's wing it." Nobody was really in charge. I guess someone was waiting for someone else to come up with a brilliant suggestion. Our SWAT team weren't well-equipped in the first place. Open the bus door with a thin rope. Fail. Try and crack the windows open. Fail. Throw in tear gas and go in without protection for it. EPIC FAIL.

Mendoza's brother wasn't much help either. It was like watching someone pour gas on a forest fire. Big whoop.

Why is our SWAT team obviously untrained for this?

If Venus Raj would make a statement, this is MAJOR MAJOR failure on us.

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Hatred toward Filipinos ‘smacks of racism’ — HK daily
GMANews.TV - Thursday, August 26

A newspaper in Hong Kong on Wednesday sought to ease the reported resentment felt by Chinese nationals toward Filipinos in light of the deadly hostage crisis in Manila that left eight tourists from China’s special administrative region dead.

In its editorial Wednesday, the South China Morning Post said Filipinos are the “wrong targets" of the collective anger although it described the police force that handled Monday’s hostage situation as “incompetent."

“The actions of a unit of police commandos were not [the Filipinos’] doing. Tarring them with the same brush of incompetence isn’t right," the editorial read, adding that venting anger toward Filipinos “smacks of racism."

The editorial also scored the Hong Kong government’s response to the tragedy after placing the Philippines on its travel blacklist. “It has issued its highest travel alert for those thinking of going to the Philippines. Based on a single isolated incident, it has determined that a severe threat exists and that all travel should be avoided," it said.

This page requires a higher version browser The editorial explained that the only other countries on the alert list – Indonesia, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia and Thailand – are ranked two levels lower, with travelers advised to “exercise caution." The Security Bureau of Hong Kong issued a travel warning on Monday, discouraging all travel to the Philippines by its citizens.

Just an hour after the hostage-taking ended, the Philippines’ status was changed by Hong Kong from an “amber alert warning" to a “black alert warning," indicating severe threats to the country’s security. “Travel bans are for safety, not political retribution," the SCMP editorial stated.
It likewise faulted protesters in Hong Kong who rallied outside the Philippine Consulate General there for the “abuse" hurled against Philippine President Benigno Aquino III in blog postings and placards. The editorial cited a placard that read “Cold-blooded Aquino – Go to hell." “Statements like this are not rational or reasonable. All they do is stir needless hatred," it said. The newspaper, which has a daily circulation of over 100,000, urged Chinese nationals not to place blame for the hostage drama to Filipinos, which it described as “innocent bystanders" to the tragedy.
“The 150,000 Filipinos who live among us in Hong Kong and the untold millions in the Philippines who rely on our business and tourism dollars cannot provide what we want to know. They are as much innocent bystanders to the tragedy as we are and deserve to be treated as such," the editorial said. - KBK, GMANews.TV

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