As we all know, the Philippines just instated a new president last June 2010. With President Noynoy Aquino, the nation is once again hopeful that big changes are about to happen. And then here comes a local police by the name of Rolando Mendoza. He lost his job and decided to siege a bus of Chinese tourists to demand his reinstatement. His selfish act was enough to send the Philippines in a bad light once again in the international scene. At this point, the Filipino nation is caught in a whirlwind of emotions while trying to process the embarrassing feeling of being in the headlines of CNN, BBC and other international news networks. The national leader of Hong Kong, Donald Tsang, just released an official statement expressing his disappointment at how the hostage situation was handled. He called on all Hong Kong citizens in the Philippines to immediately go back home. And to those who are planning to visit the Philippines soon, he discouraged them from pushing through. As hard as it was to listen to him say those words, it was true to a certain extent. If I were a foreigner, I would also think twice about visiting the Philippines after watching the fragility of our national police.
And thus, it is like being back to square one again when we are just starting to flap our wings once more. Philippine tourism will surely experience a big blow. The CNN just tagged my country as the worst place to visit. It is harsh and difficult to swallow, yet through it all, I do not want to lose hope. If I do not believe in my countrymen, nobody else will.
It was disheartening to read all sorts of angry comments thrown at the national police and media. At this point though, I find all these unnecessary. For me, it is just time to pick up the pieces once more and start all over again. We will continue to pick up the pieces no matter how many times it will take. The Philippines will not be put down by one violent and irrational ex-police. The Philippines will not be put down by one hostage drama that ended on a sour note. We will learn from this and we will earn the respect from people around the world.
My head is held high. I am a Filipino.