I am a Filipino. The Philippines Will Rise Above the Hostage Taking Drama.

Much has been said already about the incapability and incompetence of the local SWAT Team in handling the hostage scenario last night. People are quick to criticize after all, and they were bold to post their thoughts in social networking sites. It did not help that the local media companies aired the hostage scene live on TV so that the whole world was able to watch how the SWAT team was rendered clueless and helpless in trying to go inside that bus. As a Filipino, I was filled with shame while trying to take in all the things that were transpiring right before my eyes on TV. A lot of things entered my mind. Aside from the fact that the SWAT Team really lacked the proper training and equipment to handle the situation professionally, I also could not help but think about the future of the Filipinos and my country.

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.
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  • August 24, 2010 at 3:03 PM
    Anonymous :

    I agree with you sir. Despite all those things I'm still proud to say I'm a Filipino. One mistake should not hinder us to move on and loose our track. We are a nation with a new hope and hopefully we will prove them wrong.

  • August 24, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    Nicely put. I still think the label used by CNN is way too much. Still, Pinoy pa rin ako. And proud to be.

  • August 27, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    Very well said! I think the focus now should be on how we can eliminate the bad image of our country as a result of this incident. It's sad that this had to happen on PNoy's time, but let this be a challenge for him to do his best to improve how everything is being run in our country. Despite what happened, I'm still proud to be a Filipino, too!

  • August 27, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    It's a sad feeling indeed. But as a Filipino, I know that through it all, we will stand proud again as a nation. But let's not forget those who died and give them due respect.

    I hope, just like the previous mishaps in our country, this too will soon pass but not forgotten, so as to serve as a lesson, which we learned the hard way.

    I am proud to be Pinoy too!

  • September 1, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    I rarely watch TV. It's my way of filtering all the negativity that can be seen on TV. However, this recent hostage drama really caught my attention. We are used to having crimes everyday. But what annoys me the most is why majority of the Filipinos feel that the best way to go about the alarming issue is to start altering the image of our nation, that is, in a positive way. As if we were heralded as one of the safest places on this planet. Haha. True, we did enjoy a short period of prosperity and security. But that was so 1900s. What I think we need is to forget about how other nations regard us. Let's shed our patriotism for a while and begin improving our ways for our future children, not for anything else. Like, seriously, is this the place you want to raise your kids? Haha.

  • September 1, 2010 at 8:21 PM

    I agree with you, Mr. Gean Carlo. Couldn't have said it any better.

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