R.I.P. victims of the Manila tourbus siege
Most recent information – 9 dead
What happened yesterday in Manila, Philippines, is unfortunate.
Could it be prevented? No.
Could it be handled better? A resounding yes.
The entire siege lasted about 11 hours. People watching the news were all shocked and disappointed by how the Manila police dealt with the situation — or rather, how they did not deal with the situation.
A hammer was used to break a tourbus door; shortly after failing to do so, a rope was tied to the door with the other end tied to a car, attempting to pull the door off. The door pushes open, not outwards. Authority in the tourbus industry mentioned a button at the bottom of the door which can unlock the door in case of an emergency.
Shots were fired towards the back of the tourbus after gunshots were heard coming from inside the bus, ignoring the possibility of surviving hostages being situated anywhere near the back of the bus.
The gunman was seen on earlier video footage to have stood in clear view of anyone in that area — the police had claimed to be optimistic about dealing with this hostage situation ‘in peace’. Obviously there may be protocol or all sorts of bureaucracy involved in the decision made not to shoot the gunman at that point during the siege (or did anyone make this decision?) But looking at the surviving hostages crawling out of the bus, the dead and the wounded carried out, I cannot help but think — could this have been dealt with different, could there have been a different outcome?
However, I hope people in Hong Kong will not transfer their sadness and heartbreak over the death and trauma due to this siege, and their disappointment and anger at how the Manila police and government dealt with the situation, onto the general public of the Philippines. It is a widely known fact that there is a very large population of Filipinos working as domestic helpers in Hong Kong. This incident will definitely cause rage towards Filipinos. But if you think about it, is it fair to take anger out on every Filipino you come across? Is it right to generalise the entire Filipino nation? Does the next Filipino come across definitely have something related to the gunman or the police officers involved in the siege, can you blame him/her?
I hope people in Hong Kong can be angry without being hateful towards this nation. There is enough grief in this incident without more hatred added to it.
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