This day marks the first anniversary of the infamous Manila Hostage Tragedy where 8 Hong Kong tourists died when dismissed police officer Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza hijacked a tourist bus carrying 25 people in an attempt to get his job back.
Where were you during that tragic incident?
I was then in between doing my editing works and procrastinating on Tumblr when the news broke out the morning of August 23, 2010. Having seen a similar situation years before when Jun Ducat held hostage preschool students in a bus, I told myself that this will also come to a peaceful end. I even exchanged some good laughs and ideas with Tita Marj about the possibility of creating a biopic for Captain Mendoza and guessing who would be the best actor to portray him.
The whole afternoon and early evening went by with me tweeting and posting some stuff on Tumblr about the hostage crisis, my opinion, my rant against Captain Mendoza, on how would it affect our image to the international community, and being glued on the evening news on television, monitoring the events.
And then the unexpected came. The whole country – and perhaps the whole world – was in shock.
Most of us, I think, were glued then on the television and have watched the events that lead to a bloodbath. Those who have no television during that time resorted to social media, blogging site Tumblr included, for updates. My dashboard became a news feed of sort, thanks to the Tumblristas who posted the events (and opinion) on this blogging platform. (There was even a pun created during that time here on David Karp’s cyber empire. Tumblr became ‘Tumblr Patrol’ in reference to the blow by blow posting of events just like in the news program ‘TV Patrol’.)
After the tragic event, the eyes of the whole world were glued to our country and the then two-month old Aquino administration was put under the spotlight of local and international ridicule. The Pinoy culture of ‘mas magaling ang miron’, ‘sisihan’ and ‘turuan’ were seen days after the event. Memes about howpulpol our policemen were spread on various social media. Angry Facebook users stormed the Facebook page of President Aquino (that lead to its early demise and reconstruction). And to make things worse, photos of policemen and students who were taking pictures with the ill-fated bus spread on the internet (that added to the anger of the citizens of Hong Kong.)
It has been repeatedly said that no one wanted this to happen. Our country has repeatedly apologized to the victims. But is an apology enough? No. Is justice served to the victims? (Click the GMAnews.tv link below to read what happened to the personalities that were held liable for the tragedy.)
And aside from justice for the victims, have our authorities learned about this tragedy? And in the event that a similar event happen again, are we assured not to have another bloodbath similar to this one?
Every mistake requires penance and contrition. Every tragedy requires justice for the aggrieved party. Forgiveness may come later but the first move to reconciliation and closure must first come from the aggressor.
Aside from justice for the victims and the preparedness of our forces, I also want our government to clean up the system so as not to make another Captain Mendoza. It may be remembered that one of the reasons why Captain Mendoza hijacked the bus was the alleged corruption (and bribery for his pending case) on the Office of the Ombudsman. Daang Matuwid? I hope so.
On the first year of the Manila Hostage Tragedy, I am inviting you to say a prayer or two (or just be still and be silent for a minute, if you are an agnostic or an atheist)for the victims. And pray to God – or ask the Cosmos – that this may not happen again.
Read more here: ‘The 2010 Manila Hostage Crisis: A Year After (GMAnews.tv)’ GMA News Online looks back at the personalities held liable for the tragedy and examines if justice has indeed been served to the eight victims of dismissed policeman Rolando Mendoza, who was himself killed in a police assault viewed live worldwide.
Post Scriptum: During the height and the aftermath of the hostage crisis, I made a handful of blog entries here at the Republic. You may want to visit and read them by clicking these links: 1. Dear Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza 2. Ang Pinakamatapang na Pulis ng Maynila 3. Ang Linya na Hindi Inirerespeto ng mga Usisero 4. And the ‘Most Hated Person’ Award is Given to.. 5. Ano kaya Bersyon ng Kuwento ng mga “Kontrabida”? 6. Araw ng mga Bayani? (WOTL) 7. ‘Major Major’