the hostage situation

It was tragic; no one can deny that.

What might be debatable is which one is more tragic: that this even happened in the first place and innocent people got injured and killed, or that our local police, “SWAT” team, media and even the bystanders somehow managed to shame the nation with their incompetence and irresponsibility?

My initial reaction was one of amusement at how the police, in their flimsy body armor, bungled their attempts at breaking the windows and doors of the bus. Then it quickly turned to shock when I saw shots fired and bullet holes on the windshield. I realized: this was horribly real.

I didn’t want to watch anymore because I couldn’t stand to watch how the police looked so awkward and scared shitless with what’s happening. I tried putting myself in their shoes, and I realized I’d probably act the same way. My problem with this is that had they been given the proper training or even retained a smidgen of what they were taught to do in cases like these, the police’s actions would have been more precise and decided rather than unsure and bungling.

I turned off the tv and headed off somewhere to eat dinner with a friend, who promptly turned on his laptop and streamed live footage of the crisis on his laptop as soon as we arrived at the restaurant. Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms kept both of us updated. We learned that the hostage-taker, a former policeman named Rolando Mendoza was finally brought down by the police but was killed in the process (wtf. easier to kill than capture alive, is that it?). We learned that the hostages were taken to the hospital but that some died upon arrival. We learned that the bystanders and the media had the GALL to go up to the bus to see what happened when they SHOULDN’T because they’re tampering/contaminating/i forgot the term/interfering the crime scene.

It was depressing.

The truth is that while it is so easy to pin the blame on the police–after all, it was a former cop who took hostages, and our own law enforcers pretty much failed at keeping the casualty count at zero–we must remember that given our country’s circumstances the past few 20 years, these people may not have had adequate training to handle these kinds of situations. Do we blame the politicians, then?

I say let’s not blame anybody. It’s going to be absolutely hard to do that especially since our people have been known to point fingers whenever possible, but we have to stop doing so. What do we do?

Disney movies said it best: We move forward. We LEARN, we REMEMBER what we learned, and we move FORWARD.

We have been so caught up in our past, in our days of economic comfort and wealth that we have “grown flaccid with dependence, smug with ease under another’s wing”* and we have resorted to putting the blame on other people because we were too dependent on others to do the work of improving the country ourselves.

We can’t let this tragedy bring us down. We are a resilient people, but we are also forgetful. We forget the crimes of our past politicians and elect them again and again. We forget the lessons our history has taught us and yearn to teach us still, but we throw them to the wind. We must remember the lessons we learned and continue to learn. Only then can we turn tragedy around. Only then can we honor the people whose lives were lost in the crossfire.

*quote taken from R. Zulueta da Costa’s “Like the Molave”

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6 thoughts on “the hostage situation

  1. Very well said, cher! 😀 We really shouldn’t blame people. What matters is how we address the situation and rebuild a better reputation. 🙂

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  2. LIKE X5000. especially the last paragraph.

    sayang talaga. naawa ako sa dept of tourism secretary. malaki ang problema niya ngayon.

    p.s. i knew that quote was familiar. 😉 i love that poem/piece.

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  3. I hated how nationalism quickly died down as quick as it became a trend. Hoping they weren’t Filipinos, wanting to leave, and all.

    Tomorrow will be a new day.

    Hey, look on the bright side, after emotions flared, more positive tweets and statuses went up – that fast. We always make it through. God noticed how well we did in Ondoy together, maybe this is the same thing, only packaged differently.

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  4. @kevin, thank you!
    @paul, hala i didn’t think about the tourism secretary. eek. i wouldn’t want to be in his shoes right now
    @bene, we are always quick to react negatively at first, but we also know how to balance it out with the positives. i just hope we learn to ignore the negativity and nip it at its bud.

    thanks for your comments; i agree with them all wholeheartedly.

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  5. we do need to know the truth behind what happened but as we all know we now can’t because the hostage-taker is dead. i think that his conditions were really not hard to give because all he wanted was to be reinstated since his case about the extortion was not proven plus he had 10 awards which shows that he was an excellent police. maybe, just maybe he got agitated when his brother was taken by the police by force because according to the news report the first gunfire was only fired after that incident. all i’m saying is if could have ended peacefully without anyone being injured or killed.

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  6. @Bernard it’s sad that the hostake-taker had to be killed in order for all of this to end. he could have explained his actions, however insufficient, flawed or unacceptable the reasons might be. i agree; what happened could have ended peacefully, but right now, everything we say is a just matter of “coulda shoulda woulda” 😦

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