Ten things that could have saved eight Hong Kong tourists' lives

A British security analyst with experience working in counter-terrorism spelt out no less than ten things that the Philippine police got wrong in the handling of the 23rd August bus siege that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead.

In the following, I quote the items verbatim from the report and snippets from what the analyst -- Charles Shoebridge -- had to say about the assault force...

1. Determination - "[the police] acted as 99% of the population would have, which was to turn round and get out. They didn't seem to have the necessary determination and aggression to follow the attack through"

2. Lack of equipment - "They almost looked like a group of vandals"

3. Lost opportunity to disarm the gunman - "The negotiators were so close to [Mendoza], and he had his weapon hanging down by his side. He could have been disabled without having to kill him"

4. Lost opportunity to shoot the gunman - "there were occasions when the gunman was standing alone, during the course of the day, and could have been shot by a sharpshooter"

5. Satisfying the gunman's demands - "[...] they could have just accepted his demands. He could be reinstated in the police - and then be immediately put in prison for life for hostage taking."

6. Televised proceedings - "police should always consider putting a barrier or screen around the area, to shield the scene from the cameras and keep the hostage taker in the dark"

8. Safeguarding the public - "it was clear there was little command and control of the public on the ground"

9. Using the gunman's brother to negotiate - "Relatives and close friends can be a double-edged sword"

10. Insufficient training - "The detachment involved in Monday's incident clearly was not [...] well trained in the necessary tactics"

Most of these ten things pointed out are quite self-evident. Indeed, the level of incompetence exhibited last Monday was such that, from what I've seen in the small cross-section of articles and blogs I've scanned over the last hour or two, even non-experts in armed assault tactics have been able to cite them.

The really astounding thing is how the sheer incompetence of the assault was so visibly played out in front of a TV -- and YouTube -- audience. We have to thank the "heroics" of the Philippine Media for that. In their pursuit for lucrative scoops under the banner of their self-appointed role of "guardians of truth and freedom", the Media played a pivotal role not only in triggering the fatal descent into chaos of Mendoza's hostage drama but also provided the world with a front-row look into the banal ineptness that has come to be associated (now even more indelibly) with the word "Filipino".

Take a look at those ten items cited above by Shoebridge again and the snippets out of the report I quoted associated with each.

These ten things could just as easily describe everything that is wrong with Philippine society overall.

Sad indeed.


  1. congratulations to ABS-CBN, TV5, and GMA-7. Go for Gold sa New York Awards next year. Ang galing n'yo talaga. Blood on your hands for not having self-regulations.


Post a Comment

Popular this week

Why indeed should we not bury former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Fort McKinley Libingan ng mga Bayani?

Outsourcing: the gold rush that may further impoverish Filipinos