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Hostage Tragedy Aftermath: The Battle Between People and Peoples

Dammam, Saudi Arabia — I am among the ordinary John Does who have witnessed the worsening relations between two Asian countries, the Philippines and Hong Kong, after the 12-hour hostage standoff between ex-police Rolando Mendoza and the neophyte Philippine SWAT Team.

I am sad and disappointed.

The two countries’ leaders have not lived up to my expectations that they act on the tragedy with dispatch and circumspection. Their run-of-the-mill actions have hurt their people and created a red line between them. I have tried to google since the day the incident took place, only to find out Hong Kongers — themselves and through other nationalities — and Filipinos fending off red rags in an exchange of inflammatory comments, such as the following:

dtnaraja: There’s no need to apologize to Hong Kong. Philippines isn’t Rolando Mendoza; Rolando Mendoza isn’t Philippines. Hong Kong must have in the first place been aware of this and should have instead apologized to all Filipinos – save for Rolando Mendoza – for heavily implicating them in the shameful, horrendous act of one disgruntled, non-such Filipino.

rebeccacarlos: I am a wife of an OFW working in HK for 20 years now. I felt hurt and cried over what happened last night (i.e. August 23). I saw myself as a family of one of the hostages. As a Filipino, I am really sorry for all the victims, including the culprit being a victim himself. Had there been proper communication, a little more patience, a little more LOVE, a little more TIME, maybe there is a better life ahead of us. I do not condemn the police but see the effect it had on all of us as a nation.

VanessaChase: Filipinos are a bunch of turds.

sylvester_dc: Let us pray that our leaders may do what is right. A national apology is needed. Nobody wanted this to happen.

dtnaraja: The SWAT Team who botched the rescue effort should be meted the worst penalty of liquidation. How SWAT Team did their job is how inefficient and incompetent P-Noy is. He must be impeached. After all, I am not proud of him.

bikbik_alde: I remember a few years ago about a Filipino hacked by a Chinese after being mistaken for a Japanese. That time, China and Japan were in conflict. The killing by the Chinese was just dismissed by the China government as an isolated case. So how about the recent hostage-taking?


“OTORIDAD ang dapat sisihin sa krimeng malagim;Kung sana pinagbigyan ang munting hinaing, At sana’y ginawa ang nararapat gawin Disin sana’y Pilipinas, maiiwasan ang paglubog natin…. …Itong mga parak, andaming palusot, Kitang-kita namang katawa’y baluktot, Ni paghawak nitong maso na kunwari’y ipupukpok, Dala mandin ang katawan, o nakakahiyang katawang kay lambot. Kung sinuman ang nag-utos na si Gregorio’y hulihin, Siya ang dapat manago’t sa nangyaring Wag mo na sisihin ang kung sinumang sa cellphone ay kausap Sapagka’t sa ‘king palaga’y hindi ‘yun ang ugat. Media’y waring dawit sa nangyaring pagka-saklap-saklap, Di man nila aminin pero kanilang palakad ay tila pumalpak; Nakakuha nga ng balita na kanilang isusulat Ngayon nama’y ang kapalit Pilipinas na umiiyak!”

Indeed, there are already numerous comments concerning the incident.

In a PDI (a Filipino newspaper) report, Dennis Wong Sing, a professor at the City University in Hong Kong, said “the police operation was ‘really shocking’ to watch as it unfolded live on tv and police were indirectly responsible for the deaths of the Hong Kong people”.

To which I agreed.

Police had the most important role in the said rescue effort and should have been extra careful in dealing with the dismissed policeman. Sing, so did I, criticized police for their poor negotiating tactics and their failure to calm the hostage-taker down and hear him out.

There would have been no dead bodies sent back to Hong Kong.

What will these comments end up in?

Anger. Racial Squabbles. Physical Backlashes. Polarization.

It will now be a battle between people and peoples. Which is unexpected.

The hullabaloos and the ballyhoos that this hostage-taking incident has caused should be a lesson for both Hong Kong and the Philippines to learn. It is so trivial a reason to end their goodwill and friendship that have stood firm against all odds and vicissitudes.


About Danilo Tao-tuan Naraja

I am an expatriate based in Jubail, Saudi Arabia and work in the Admin and HR Division of an oil and gas company. I am an HR practitioner for more than a decade. I used to work for a Cebu-based local newspaper. I love to write human interest stories and started writing when I was still in high school.


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