National Day of Mourning – On August 24, President Aquino declared Wednesday, August 25, 2010 as National Day of Mourning, for the eight Chinese tourists from Hong Kong who were killed in Monday’s bloody hostage crisis in Manila. However, this is not a holiday, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda clarified at a press briefing in Malacañang.
In addition, The President issued Proclamation No. 23 on the special day of mourning in solidarity with the people of Hong Kong and the bereaved families of the victims. The President also instructed all public institutions nationwide and all Philippine embassies and consulates overseas to lower the Philippine flag at half-mast on Wednesday. He said the death of the hostages “calls for the most solemn commemoration and respect at the time of grief for our two peoples.”
The hostage crisis was really devastating incident…different heads of different agencies blame each other due to this incident, particularly between media and PNP. But, they don’t need to do that blaming each other because they have done only their parts. They have mistakes but this will serves as their basis in studying to improve their strategies to make successful solutions. This is a big challenge to our newly elected president to change this country to implement fair judgment and care for the life of people.
The Police’s mantra: “to serve and to protect” became an embarrassing mockery… a monumental disaster… a huge blow to the Philippines as a nation… a ridiculously phenomenal display of incompetence. The tourists became victims of the Police at both ends…. a dismissed officer who insanely picked a stupid way of expressing his grievance at one end.
A few days prior, a barbaric video of a Police officer torturing a suspected snatcher ruled the media channels and the internet. We see the image of police officers with bulgy beer-nurtured tummies… “tong” collectors… we coined the word “pulis patola”… we know how “bagansya” works… what “huli-dap” is… we know about “planted evidences”… colorum FX and vans operated by police officers… we see countless incidents of “police brutality”…… police officers accepting payola from gambling and drug syndicates… and the list goes on…and on…and on. Yet, I’m not saying that all policemen are pure patolas…. I bet there are a significant number of police heroes…. but unfortunately their good deeds are obviously outnumbered.
The bloody hostage drama is certainly a major drawback and a huge blow to our sluggish Tourism industry. Philippines is obviously outperformed by our Asian neighbors in terms of tourism revenue in spite the fact that the Philippines has more natural attractions to offer. Why? Because we could not even SERVE and PROTECT the ordinary Filipinos…common people… even our own streets are not safe. Our law-enforcers at times become the law-breakers themselves. We have to enforce the law and assure PEACE and ORDER in our streets to prove that LAW indeed rules our land.
Tourists do not just visit places. They mingle with people, and they come back not only to see the places again but also to enjoy the nice people they mingled with. Obviously, not to become the collateral damage to dramatize a petty dismissal case. We Filipinos should lament and sympathize to the victims from Hong Kong and to the rest of the world. We have to humbly accept our failure, ask for forgiveness and do something to clean-up and improve law enforcement to assure safety and protection of lives. Perhaps the cleansing process should start with the law enforcers themselves. I wish there will come a time when Filipinos and the rest of the world would finally look up to our Law Enforcers as men and women of honor, valor, competence and service.