Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Quirino Hostage Taking Drama

Rescue attempt: Philippine policemen take position as they start their
assault in a bid to free hostages from Hong Kong who remain on the
hijacked tourist bus, yesterday which was seized earlier by an ex-
policeman armed with a high-powered assault rifle in Manila. Pic/AFP
August 23, 2010 - I was in front of my computer trying to cope up with the backlogs of my job when a news flashed and announced a hostage-taking happening in Quirino Grandstand. That was around noon. What caught my attention was the fact that the hostages were Chinese nationals.

Personally, I have a passion for the Chinese people. Not only that I was married to half-Chinese and I've got two half-Chinese girls but I have made so many Chinese friends from years of living in Chinese mainland.

It was all over the television. Even CNN covered it.

Adapted and credits belong to

Manila Hostage situation: High drama in high definition

President says media coverage helped hostage-taker, as he monitored events on TV and radio

President Benigno Noynoy Aquino III is seeking further refinements in the parameters of media coverage during crisis situations following the dramatic hostage crisis that ended in carnage yesterday.

President Noynoy Aquino said he plans to meet with media organisations to forward his agenda after he lamented that full media coverage of the hostage crisis apparently gave the hostage-taker a "bird's eye view" of the situation and hampered government actions to resolve the problem.

Rescue attempt: Philippine policemen take position as they start their assault in a bid to free hostages from Hong Kong who remain on the hijacked tourist bus, yesterday which was seized earlier by an ex-policeman armed with a high-powered assault rifle in Manila.

President Noynoy Aquino, in a press conference early this morning at the Palace, explained that the government did not impose any news blackout during the 12-hour standoff since it violates the freedom of the press.

But he later recognised the need for "a redefinition of the limitations" set for the media to allow the government to do its job during a crisis situation.

"If we ordered the news blackout, you'd tell us that we were guilty of censoring you which is frowned upon by the Constitution. We cannot censor you for things you are bound to do. We did not vow transparency. But that actually points out to the possibility of further refining the rules after the Peninsula incident," the President said.

"We will be talking to you. We'll come up with terms and conditions that will help each of us achieve our objectives," added the President, who has expressed condolences to the families of the eight tourists killed in the hostage crisis that unfolded live on television.

Mendoza, who demanded his job back, was killed during a gunfight with police commandos that stormed the bus filled with Hong Kong tourists. He reportedly used his captives as human shields.

"To a certain degree, he might have a bird's eye view of the entire situation which does not help the security forces in carrying out the mission," the President said.

Mendoza was monitoring the events in the television and radio "all the time" with the "nonstop coverage of all media outlets," he added. He noted that the hostage-taker was distressed and "something pushed him to the edge." "Who were the people he was talking to? What were the limitations imposed on media? None," he said.

"Everyone wants to get latest tidbit and each time he got a new piece of information that obviously factored into his equations and it didn't help our security forces. But at the same time you have to balance the need for people to know. There has to be limits as to what should be divulged to somebody," he added.

The President earlier defended the actions of government forces, saying the police initially thought the hostage-taker would surrender but the situation later deteriorated.

Aquino also disclosed that he has apologised to the government of Hong Kong.

Survivor Slam
A survivor of the hostage siege accused the authorities of acting too late. The woman, who identified herself as Leung, told reporters that her husband was killed as he tried to stop ex-policeman Rolando Mendoza from attacking other passengers on the bus. Leung, still in shock, as she was carried out from the bus following a 12-hour standoff, demanded to know why Manila police came to their rescue so late. "It's too late. Why were there no one to help us after so many hours?" she said. 

MiD DAY provides readers with a blow-by-blow update of the hostage crisis:
10.00 am: Police receive a report that former senior inspector Rolando D Mendoza commandeered the Hong Thai travel bus with license plate TUU 799 bus with an M-16 rifle and several short firearms.
Minutes before noon: A seventh hostage was released.
2.19 pm: The eight hostage was released. Around this time, the Philippine National Police (PNP) assigned Superintendent Orlando Yebra and Chief Inspector Romeo Salvador to negotiate with Mendoza.
4.37 pm: Another Filipino on board the tourist bus, was released.
Around 6.30 pm: Two gunshots were heard from the bus. Over a radio interview. Mendoza threatens to kill the hostages if the SWAT teams would not vacate the area.
7.30 pm: Alberto Lubang, the driver of the bus, was released. He later told the police that all of the hostages in the bus were shot dead.
7.37 pm:  The police assault team start to surround the bus. They start to smash the main entrance door and front windshield of the bus with a mallet.
8.40 pm: SWAT members throw a teargas into the bus through a side window.
8.41 pm: Gunshots are heard. Eight Hong Kong nationals come out from the bus alive.
Around 11:00 pm: Health Secretary  said the hostage crisis killed nine, including the hostage-taker, and injured eight others. 


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  2. If you fly in rage you will land in disgrace. The Hongkong nationals have the right to vent their ire and frustrations to anybody including the president of the country. When man is confronted with cycle of frustrations and tragedies it is so easy to blame someone else. Humans are masters of blaming and no one is exempted of this emotional behavioral disorder.

    Calling the president dog or other expressive way of insulting a leader of the country is not appropriate at this time. You can say whatever you want but at least, respect his office.

    Observers and symphatizers have made a good point of pointing the body language of P-Noy. In this case, the president needs reeducation and training how to express him emotions in relation to his body language. Intellectual giants can hide their real feelings through rhetorics but you can't body language. Body language can't lie and it exposes the strength and weakness of the the person concern. Mr. President, please watch your body language. You may agree or not but your body language will definitely reveal your real feelings at the moment. I believe, you know better than I do. M

    May you lead this country toward greatness!