It’s a sad day in Manila. And a sad day for Philippine tourism too.
The Philippines will be blacklisted as a tourist destination once again as the tragedy of a tourist bus full of Hong Kong Chinese unfolds before the world. Reports said eight people have died after a prolonged 10-hour hostage crisis, including
four seven tourists and the hostage- taker, dismissed Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza who hijacked the passengers because he wanted to be reinstated to the police service.
In view of the hostage taking incident at the Quirino Grandstand, the Hong Kong Security Bureau has posted an outbound travel alert to its citizens, advising them against all travel to the Philippines, which is only two hours away by plane.
It’s probably fortuitous that I am safe home today, as I work very near Quirino Grandstand, the area where the hostage-taking took place. Heck, those hapless hostages could have even been billeted in the downtown hotel where am based (will check tomorrow!) I see them busloads of tourists in the hotel lobby every week.. who would ever think it would come to this?
It’s partly a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I work and travel to and from Manila 48 hours, six days a week. Even though it’s a city known for its crimes, nothing of this magnitude has happened in the past year. But having experienced by myself the dangers of being in Manila, I can attest that it’s not a safe place to walk in, especially in the dark, with your bag and bling-bling in full view.
Hostage taker Rolando Mendoza was a dismissed policeman. And I have to say I won’t trust Manila cops, even if they run out of policemen in the world. The dastardly deed of the policeman, who snatched my bag while I was walking to my car in the company parking lot, is still fresh in my mind. News reports identified him as Police Officer 2 Abraham Mamicao, and he was identified because he tried to snatch the bag of another woman after two days and was finally caught. Tsk, tsk. As of the last court hearing I attended, Mamicao was still in active (shameless) service. I tried not to cross his path, knowing how desperate these criminal crops can get.
Let’s pray for the repose of the soul of today’s fallen hostages. View Hong Kong, Our Apology for What Happened page on Facebook.