MANILA (PNA) — Senator Loren Legarda urged on Wednesday the Filipino people “to stretch the limit of our patience” in accepting the various reactions of the Chinese nationals in Hong Kong over the bloody hostage-taking last Monday.
”They (the Chinese nationals) asked why the (RP) government allowed it to happened. We cannot blame them for blaming and expressing disgust to our government. We just have to stretch the limit of our patience and understanding and humility,” Legarda said
Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on foreign relations, has been asked by the media to comment on the report that a Filipino domestic helper has been fired by her employer in Hong Kong in reaction to the killing of eight tourists from Hong Kong.
”I’m really saddened specially when I watched and read the mourning of the Chinese nationals specially a mother who lost her husband and two children. As a mother, I’m pained and I understand their anger,” Legarda said.
A photo taken by AFP (Agence France-Presse) that appeared at the front page of Manila-based ‘The Daily Tribune’ showed angry protesters stick notices over the seal at the entrance to the Philippine Consulate in Hongkong, criticizing the Manila police over the handling of the incident.
”The tourists and the Filipino did want this incident to happen but it occurred and this should give us lessons that we really lack preparation, training and equipment as well as psychological preparation of our SWAT team in handling this kind of case. I hope this would not happen again,” she added.
Legarda advised the government authorities to assure the Hong Kong government that the country is sincere in giving justice to the victims.
”What we can do is accept the mistake, correct it and help the families of the victims and perhaps our consulate and embassy in Hong Kong should reach out in the local communities there that this is unfortunate incident which nobody wanted to happen,” Legarda said.
On a call from House of Representatives to relieve Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Jesus Versoza and Interior and Local Government secretary Jess Robredo, Legarda said there should be no more time to blame throwing as it would not bring back the lives of those were killed in the incident.
”What is important now is answer all the questions and we Filipinos are asking, are we safe in our homes, in the streets and even in the historical and cultural places like the Rizal Park. It is the duty of the government to protect the citizens in public places,” Legarda said.
In the aftermath of the hostage-taking incident, the Hong Kong government raised a "black" travel alert for the Philippines, urging its citizens and tour groups to cancel travel to the country.
The hostage-taking incident started around 9:00 Monday morning when relieved police inspector Rolando Mendoza, reportedly armed with an M-16 assault rifle and dressed in combat pants, hijacked the bus with 25 people aboard in Manila's tourist district.
Seven Hong Kong tourists and two Filipinos were freed later.
However, the 12-hour negotiations broke down and the disgruntled Mendoza, who was asking to be reinstated, began shooting, forcing the police SWAT team to storm the bus.
Police admitted the blunders, promising to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident.