Ahmad Ali

reliable source of wise counsel

Manila Hostage Taking

So I watched the hostage saga in Manila unfolded live on TV. It was gripping. Earlier in the day, not much was happening, everyone was smiling and the hostage taker and negotiators were probably exchanging a banter or two. Everyone must have thought that the ordeal will be over in another couple of hours. How wrong they were.

As darkness fell, it got awry. The policeman or whoever they were, were trying to enter the bus. Shots were fired and they scooted off. Embarassing. Another had difficulty tearing off the window curtain to give them better visibility. They sledgehammered the rear window and tried to pull of the bus door and in the end didnt use any to give them advantage.

Shots were fired from the inside and I could have sworn that the lady that was sitting there was shot in the head or face. It was obvious when you put an earlier picture of her peeping out of the window in the day and later at night as she slumped silently on the chair. Both were wearing the same clothes.

When it was all over, there was a smug on one of the officer’s face to indicate that all was over. Everyone rushed forward to get a clearer view. My God! That wouldnt have happened here.

The president says that they are not trained to handle such situations. HALLO! you have been handling hostages nearly every month. You are fighting a revolution in there and you say that you are not trained??? I thought this president would bring some light to the country. Im embarassed.

What Should Have Been Done
Well Mr President, this is from a laymen who possible have watched movies especially Speed.

The police should have find ways to get eyes in the bus. Theres technology with fine video cable that can be employed. If you have bigger ones, you can use them since you have smashed the windows.

With infra red technology, I thought you would be able to see the passengers and gunman’s position. This is easy since he was a loner.

The employment of the tear gas was late. VERY LATE!

There was opportunity in the day to snipe the hostage taker when he was at the door. Should have taken it even if it means to immobilise him. HE WAS SLINGING HIS M16! and was not in ready to shoot position. The president says that negotiations were ongoing and that he was freeing the hostagers. Hence there was no need to do anything drastic. They were hoping that he would wear down and finally surrender. Shouldnt have taken that chance. All around the bus, there were rooftops for sniper to get a better view.

And for goodness sake, cordon the area so that the police can work!

News Coverage
ChannelNewsAsia video coverage was good however the news casters were horrible. They cant describe the scene at all like when green smoke was seen bellowing out of the rear window of the bus. And worst, they cant even confirm that it was a man jutting out of the front door when it clearly in plain view. The lady at the scene, or bureau chief as CNA calls them, couldnt provide further information then what was already known.

As such I had to make my way and watch the CNN and BBC coverage. BBC was a minute behind in their feed which was similar to CNA. CNN was ok and provided different views but it was pixelated probably off a digital phone or something. However the CNN news caster had better insight into the ordeal. They even had the police director on the phone when the president of HK couldnt get through the president of philippines.

This is a very sad end. Very unprofessional for a country that has dealt with its fair share of hostage taking and revolutions. The hostage taker could have been taken out much sooner.

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