Many of us has seen in the news or YouTube the very tense and tiring hostage crisis of a busload of Hong Kong Tourists in Manila today. The real life drama took 11 hours and several lives including innocent tourists and the hostage-taker, former Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza.
According to GMA news website, the 55 year old Mendoza was one of the five officers charged with robbery, extortion and grave threats after they allegedly accused a chef of the Manila Hotel of using drugs to extort money in 2008.
He was armed with an M16 rifle during the hostage-taking.
The Hong Tai Bus is reportedly carrying about 25 persons mostly Hong Kong Tourists when he seized it around 9:30 am local time. He demanded to be reinstated from his job.
The authorities tried negotiating with the hostage taker and the brother, SPO2 Gregorio Mendoza has been talking to Rolando and relaying his demands to the negotiators. The hostage-taker also tried writing his demands in paper and posting it on the bus’ windows.
However, the situation escalated when the gunman opened fire to tourists inside the bus. Some people claimed that it is because Rolando saw in TV about the “forced” arrest of his brother Gregorio as an alleged accessory to the crime while the hostage drama is taking place.
Latest news said 8 people died including Rolando.
I have seen the video footage and the incident is quite alarming. On a supposedly busy early morning, wherein the city is just starting to have life, a tourist bus was hijacked. Innocent tourists’ life including children were at stake.
We’ve seen news before about a man entering a school in China and killing several children or a man taking control of a building in America killing more than a dozen people. The world is no longer safe.
What is more disturbing is the fact that what happened in Manila today is isolated but has created a very big impact. I can’t blame the man for trying to let the authorities hear his voice. But the way it was done is certainly not acceptable. I’ve never heard of such incident wherein the gunmen deliberately target a lot of innocent tourists. I’ve read in Facebook about comments like “Desperate times would make you do desperate actions”. Still not a good enough reason to take someone else’s life in our own hands as what has been inculcated in our minds since we were young if we really value our Christian beliefs.
The Philippines has been struggling to lure tourists to the country what with numerous reports of kidnapping of foreign missionaries or abduction of wealthy businessmen. We people working in the travel industry really work hard to bring tourists to the country. Tourism brings jobs and wealth to a country’s economy. However, tourism is always the first to be affected whenever security or safety is compromised.
The Security Bureau of Hong Kong has blacklisted the Philippines and declared a total travel ban to the country following the incident. We definitely cannot blame them especially since several of their citizens were killed.
This is a very challenging time for the Government. There must really be a drastic move to eliminate corruption, red tape and abuse of power in all Government agencies especially in the police or military ranks as they swore to serve and protect the country and the people.
It is just saddening the way Rolando Mendoza’s (a former awardee of Ten Outstanding Policemen of the Philippines) life and several others ended.
I join the people of Hong Kong as well as fellow Filipinos in praying for the eternal peace and salvation of those who died and also praying for full recovery and healing of memories of those who survived this tragic incident. We fervently pray for God’s grace and protection so that this dark moment will never happen again.