I Pledge Allegiance to ________ .

August 23, 2010.

One ex-policeman. Twenty-five passengers. Eleven hours of hostage taking and negotiations. Seven Dead.

Drama,action and suspense-this is what we Filipinos hungrily feed on. Appalled as real-life drama unfolded on primetime.

MPD – I understand that all military and police training (hell, all of us who are employed even) have to follow a chain of command. So who gave the orders to have the suspect’s brother taken to police custody? Did you work well with the hostage negotiators? Did you consult psychiatrists, gauge the mental and emotional distress of all parties concerned? Did you consider the repercussions of doing that? Did you not think of the concurrent live media coverage? Chain of command weak. Chain of command failed. Most of all, have you ever heard of protective gear, and isn’t there some police protocol regarding safety and security?

SWAT – is an acronym for Special Weapons and Tactics. ROFL. Seriously. You looked like a bunch of chickens cowering behind the big bus. WTF. Practice run before the assault. Briefing yes. Discussions regarding tactical options yes. Practice??? Are you people not supposed to do that when you’re a freshman, a neophyte, and not supposed professionals assigned to the field? OMG. Whatever happened to Intelligence units? No one considered researching about the bus lay out? A hammer, wood plank, rope??? No thermal imaging cameras? No portable surveillance cameras? Rural police, yes you are. Eleven hours. It took you that long. Please take refresher courses on negotiations. As humans, yes, I understand that we act on instinct, but as our superiors said, this is a ‘special isolated case’ which mean that you must have had some ‘special operations procedures training’. I kinda wonder what they teach in criminology. Proper way of crouching 101? FTW. Next, considering the number of police, SWAT, security guards you deployed to the area, you didn’t cordone the crime scene. Evidence, that could possibly be crucial to the investigation have been contaminated. CSI, NCIS, SOCO. You’d think there’s saturation of crime shows but none of them have permeated our brains. Pilipinas, you are TDF. I hate to compare but really… Collaborative, systematic effort could greatly improve our chances of being a better nation… But I KNOW we could have done better. We could do better.

GOVERNMENT – “… To purchase new equipment… To undergo new training…” What’s next? Will you issue a statement banning bus rides? Maybe officials should rethink and reconsider pork barrel distribution and taxation laws. Why does it always take a tragedy for us to take action? A little too late. Always. Foresight is not one of our better qualities. But it should be.

MEDIA – people have a right to be informed, yes. But could lives have been saved if information had been filtered? Then again, the SWAT and the MPD could’ve also done something about this. No high-tech device that would block radio and tv signals? Could they have taken the brother into custody in discretion? Again, spotlight’s on the armed guys in blue uniform.

MENDOZA – may you rest in peace and god bless your soul. You got your message across. But by taking hostage a bus full of people, did you actually think the PNP would reinstate you, give you back your old job, offer you a lifetime of benefits? I wonder, what’s your story?

TOURISM – “Avoid all travel to Philippines.” Fluctuating. Downward spiral. Enough said.

My heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims. I mourn for all the lives lost. I pray for a better future. I cry for my seemingly hopeless motherland. May God bless us all.

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