Playing the Blame Game: the Manila Bus Hostage Crisis
It has been three days since that fateful day when an ex – cop seeking reinstatement decided to hijack a tourist bus and take in as hostages the 20 people inside the bus. The Manila bus hostage crisis lasted for 12 hours and resulted in the deaths of 8 tourists.
Now the race is on to discover what really happened during these 12 hours, how did the victims die, who really killed them, what did those in authority do and what should be done in the future to avoid something like this happening again. As of the date of this writing, the Philippine Senate is already holding its own investigation on what truly happened during the said hostage crisis.
Most of all, the race is on to find out who is really to blame for the deaths of 8 tourists, the destroyed reputation of the Philippine National Police, the negative effect on Philippine tourism industry and the general upheaval caused by this unfortunate and saddening incident.
It is always like this. We’re all relaxed, going through our normal lives, not noticing (or if we do, we don’t complain) when something is going wrong. And then when it all blows up on our faces, the blame game starts.
So who is really to blame for the Manila bus hostage crisis?
Is it the police?
The trouble with watching the whole crisis live on TV (fortunately for me, I only watched the last two hours of the hostage situation, if I watched longer I would have been really, really, really upset about what happened) is that you see everything.
And I do mean everything – how the police painstakingly smashed the windows of the bus to be able to enter it. How one police lost his sledge hammer during the process. Was he too nervous during that time? How they tried to open the emergency door and enter the bus through the opening (only to retreat a short while later because the hostage taker opened fire at them). How they were all huddled beside the bus, where they can be seen through the side mirror in full view of the hostage taker.
But is the Philippine National Police really to blame?
What do you think? I mean they were obviously not prepared to handle such a crisis. There was nobody who decided decisively on what should be done. They let the whole thing drag for 12 hours, even, at one point, arresting the brother for everyone to see, thus, increasing the ire of the hostage taker who was already nervous about what he was doing. Their movements were slow and there was no obvious direction or planning in what they were doing.
There was no control over the media and the crowd. When the hostage taker was killed, you can see the people swarming around the bus like ants drawn to the food. All in all, the situation was poorly managed and the results showed this fact.
That takes care of the police, how about the media?
I really do not know why media people have to cover a sensitive event like this one 24/7. Would it have hurt their ratings if they showed the whole thing after the crisis was over? Would it have hurt their ratings not to show the footages that are guaranteed to raise the ire of the hostage taker (like the arrest of his brother) and caused him to open fire at the hostages?
Would it have hurt their ratings to show some restraint in showing to the entire world just how inept our authorities are in handling a grave situation such as this?
Its times like this that I really wish the media will exercise responsible reporting and have some form of protocol when things such as this happen. Even our former president called the media spoiled and without restraint.
Are the media directly to blame? No. Did their actions affect the situation? Yes.
How about the Philippine government? Are they to blame?
Which Philippine government are we talking about? The current government is blaming the previous government and vice – versa. The previous government is blaming the current government because the latter did not take definite actions to end the whole thing earlier. The current government is blaming the previous government because the latter did not push through with setting up a counterterrorism unit that will take care of hostage crisis situations such as this.
This is where the blame game really gets worst.
People, Filipinos at that, are swamping the current president’s Facebook page, angrily posting negative words and generally blaming him for what happened.
And for what?
So that heads will roll? So that we Filipinos will bow our heads over and over again to apologize for something that we really couldn’t control? So that we will ‘save’ our international reputation? So that one group can put down the other group and say that they’re better than the other group?
This blame game will drag on and on and then it will quietly fade in the background. And another opportunity for us to learn and to become better from what we have learned from this tragic affair passes by. And everything will go back again to what they were before the hostage crisis, until the issue will be dug up again when something bad like this happens (again!).
In times like this, do we really learn? I hope so. I hope as the blame game continues (knowing my country and my people, it’s unavoidable really), we will all learn something and do something to ensure that such will not happen again.
The contents of this hub are my personal views and do not, in any way, reflect the views of my countrymen. You are free to leave your comments, whether these are positive or negative. But in all those comments, please do not forget to pray for the lives lost, their families, even the hostage taker and his family. And please pray for my country, that we will be able to turn this situation around to our advantage and to avoid the same thing from happening again in the future.