Being a Travel Agent

As a travel agent….

August 25, 2010

I condemn the hostage-taking in the Philippines. It is wrong in every aspect, in any way you see it and manila’s finest (our policemen call themselves that, after the incident i don’t want to think if there’s anything that could be any more worst than what they did) made it all more complicated and bad.

It is a bit surprising that some Filipinos even had the courage to post in their facebook status that it’s not actually Mendoza’s fault (why 8 people were killed) but the media and/or the ill-trained SWAT (Sorry, Wala Akong Training – Sorry I have no training) and/or the slow response of the government with regards to negotiating with the demands of the hostage-taker. Well, this I tell you, if Mendoza did not take that bus in hostage in the first place then none of these would have happened. So don’t blame the media (although they are partly responsible but I’ll get to that later) or the ill-trained police/SWAT (note to self: they’re all worthless, good-for-nothing specialists and we’re giving our hard-earned taxes to them) because the root of everything that has happened is Mendoza. Mendoza and his selfish act and really stupid reasoning.

Mendoza was a decorated police officer who was dismissed from his post after being found guilty of extortion in 2009, voiding all his benefits. And as per his brother, all he wanted was to be reinstated to that post as he was framed and the ombudsman never even gave him a chance to defend himself. This what triggered him to take that bus-full of HK tourists as a hostage until the government gives him what he asks for – his job. Now, what’s wrong with that? EVERYTHING! Does he really think that after you take on that bus-full of tourists and the government finally gives in to your demands that you will never be reprimanded for what you have done? I mean, yeah they might find you not guilty of that extortion case (as you claim to be) but you are very much guilty of kidnapping tourists (all TV channels can prove that) and you will definitely go to jail. How stupid can one be? In pursuit of trying to make something right, you’ll do something very wrong and add to that, bring innocent people down with you and put their lives in harm?

Add to that,

The media who’s covering the whole incident blow-by-blow can also be blamed. The bus had a television inside it so Mendoza can see all of the movements the police were taking and all of the discussions by government officials with regards to his demands.

The policemen (oh God, the policemen) who really are not capable of doing their job right and should really go on training and i mean 101 trainings – a total overhaul. They have no idea what they’re doing, they don’t even have a plan of anything at all. I think there’s more than ten things the Philippines bus seige police got wrong.

The government of Manila, they should just have given him whatever his demands were and saved themselves a whole day of this drama and international spotlight and they could have saved lives as well. Just give him what he wants and then later on, when everybody’s safe and sound, put him in trial for what he has done.

But as I have said, we really can’t put the blames on them as if Mendoza did not start it in the first place then none of these pointing of fingers as to who did the worst job would have happened – ultimately killing 8 people.

This incident has gravely affected our country in more ways than one and I can truly attest that the tourism industry was one of the sectors which will get a big blow out of it. My passengers who were supposed to go to the Philippines the day after the incident cancelled their 24,000 dirhams package and went instead directly to Tokyo. the Hongkong government issued a travel ban for all their people from going to the Philippines calling the incident “Manila Massacre” and putting on the headlines of their newspapers: Inept Filipino Police: 8 holidaymakers were killed”. Our nation was being described by a certain Yahoo article as: Law Enforcement is weak in the Philippines and hostage-taking for ransom is not uncommon. Chinese media described our country as “one of the most chaotic countries in Southeast asia”. Now, with all these bad publicities our country is getting who would want to go to our country? Bear in mind that we are mostly getting our tourist visitors from our neighboring Asian countries (distance being considered and Hongkong is just an hour flight away), giving out a travel ban to their people not to travel to the Philippines then our tourism sector is totally doomed. This is not the first time that tourists’ safety was put in harm, we had Trillanes before (another government official for crying out loud) who’ve put the guests of Manila Peninsula Hotel at harm and terrorized.

The Philippines is hard enough to promote to the tourists here in Dubai without all these hoobalous (some of them doesn’t even know where Philippines is) what more if things like these keep on happening and the people who are making it happen are our very own police officers/government officials. As quoted from Pete Troilo, director of business intelligence for Pacific Strategies and Assessments, a risk-management consultancy in Manila: “For a country trying to improve its international tourist reputation this will be a major setback”.

As for the family of the hostages who were killed, my sincere apologies and prayers for you. I cannot blame you if you will hate our country as we gave you your worst nightmare but please, bear in mind that this is an act of one person and one person only. The whole Filipino nation is condemning this act.

I just can’t imagine how much terror this incident may have caused to these tourists who were just so happy to be spending their vacation in Manila until a policeman boarded their tour bus…….

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