When our newly elected leaders assumed ofce on July 1, 2010, most Filipinos were full of hope, but were weary of the possibility of the same governmental malaise, with promises unfullled.
But, no one could have foreseen, the bloody, violent end of the August 23, 2010, hostage crisis and all because of INCOMPETENCE. On hindsight, a review of the sequence of events, based on the facts at hand, will show that INCOMPETENCE, was the main reason why the outcome, was a global asco for the Philippine government.
Consider the following points:
1. The hostage taker was a dismissed in 2009, due to extortion, commonly referred to as “HULIDAP”, and gang rape, why was he not in jail, or at least, in some form of limitation of movement-house arrest or kept in the barracks, or under the supervision and custody of a superior ofcer?
2. The hostage taker DID NOT SURRENDER HIS UNIFORM AND FIREARMS, after being dismissed;
3. The hostage taker was in uniform and fully armed, brandishing high powered rearms, walking around Fort Santiago where tourist abound, where were the tourists police in the area?
4. The fully armed hostage taker was able to board a tourist bus, why was this allowed?
5. That upon notice to authorities, the team which responded were the colleagues of the hostage taker in the Manila Police Department, so, this is one of the probable reasons why they were hesitant to take him out, when they had many opportunities to do so;
6. The brother of the hostage taker and other family members, were able to approach the bus and meddle with the negotiations;
7. There was no crowd control, as well as media management of the whole episode;
8 . The unit that responded showed lack of equipment, skills, and showed hesitation, lack of determination to make use of the element of surprise in taking over the situation;
9. The hostage taker gave a deadline of 3:00p.m., and the responding team did not even have any idea on how to enter the bus, when it had exits on the right side, and on the oor of the bus or the proper equipment to effect a quick entry;
10. There was no proper debriefing of those who were freed from the bus, to determine position, disposition of the hostages, and to meet their needs for water and other necessities, and employ means to divert the attention of the hostage taker;
11. That the crowd rushed to the crime scene after the shooting, with no provisions to keep the crime scene free from contamination;
There are still many other observations which can be gleaned from the incident- and to summarize, if there was only one efcient ofcial, with COMPETENCE, to implement the laws, the rules, and the protocol on crisis management, a more positive outcome would have been guaranteed.
In crisis management, the mantra is: “Expect the Worst but hope for the best” — the worst case scenario is embedded in any hostage scenario, only competent people can view the problem, in a wholistic manner.
No amount of blame game can reverse the outcome, but, it is sad and frustrating to note that because of INCOMPETENCE, those poor, helpless , tourists have to die. It is important to repeat the saying: “ONE MOMENT OF INDISCRETION, A LIFETIME OF REGRETS!” and to adapt and state it differently: “ONE MOMENT OF INCOMPETENCE , A WORLDWIDE NATIONAL SHAME!
With this incident, we hope that government will require full competence and integrity of all its officials and employees, especially those tasked with the maintenance of PEACE AND ORDER. And dispensation of Justice.