The Manila Hostage Crisis happened at Quirino Grandstand, Manila on 23 August 2010 10:15 am and ended around 23 August 2010 8:43pm when the hostage-taker, Ex-chief Senior Inspector of Manila Police Mobile Patrol Unit Rolando Mendoza was shot on the head and killed probably by one of the police sharpshooter.

Rolando Mendoza used to hold the position of Chief Senior Inspector of Manila Police Mobile Patrol Unit and he won several prestigious awards such as 1986 Ten Outstanding Policemen of the Philippines of the Jaycees International award and medals such as Medalya ng Kasanayan (Medal of Competence), Medalya ng Kagalingan (Medal of Excellence) and the Medalya ng Paglilingkod (Medal of Service). However, he was dismissed in 2009 after he was charged of robbery and extortion with 5 other policemen when he accused Christian Kalaw, a chef of the Mandarin Hotel, of illegal parking, driving without license and use of illegal drugs and tried to extort a 20,000 pesos from him, also making him swallow an addictive drug named shabu.

The bus was thought to be carrying Korean nationals when Mendoza announced that he will be taking hostage of the tourist bus until around 12:30 when the Korean Embassy Officials confirmed that there were no Korean nationals in it. However, as time goes by, he started releasing hostages, especially the children, elderly and sick, and a total of 9 hostages were released, 3 women, a girl, 2 boys, an elderly man, their tour guide and photographer, all from Hong Kong other than the photographer which made the Manila police department to assume that the hostage will be resolved peacefully as the hostage-taker was showing sign of kindness as mentioned by Fidel Posadas, police deputy director for operations. The hostage-taker also posted several message on the bus window to signal to the onlookers and policemen what he was going to do such as “3pm deadlock” which meant that he won’t be releasing anymore hostages until his brother, Gregorio Mendoza, also a policemen, persuaded him to extend the deadline and he released the photographer.

Throughout the hostage, essentials such as food and gas were delivered to the hostages in the bus. However, when Gregorio Mendoza was arrested at around 7:00pm and this agitated Rolando and he threatened to fire at the remaining hostages if his brother is not released. To prevent the hostage-taker from escaping, sniper mobilise d the bus by shooting its tires. More police units arrived and started to lob tear gas inside the bus in order to get the hostage taker to surrender and tried breaking several windows for the hostages to escape. This was when the hostage taker started to shoot at the hostages. Fortunately, the hostage taker was shot on the head and killed. It was announced that among the 15 hostages, 7 who are Chinese tourist died and the remaining 8 who were injured were sent to the hospital for treatment. The death toll including the hostage taker rose to 10 on 24 August 2010 when another 2 injured were declare dead.

The hostage crisis will definitely affect the country’s tourism as this incident will project an image of the Philippines as an unsafe country which may greatly reduce the number of tourist coming to the Philippines especially in the Manila area although it will not really affect the economy and as the incident was individual, not political as said by Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima. Furthermore, this problem is only short-term as mentioned by the business community and thus it the aftereffects of the incident were not serious. However, this is a major blow to the government’s effort to boost tourism and it may cause the government to overreact and start implanting several travel restrictions on travel to the Philippines which may worsen the problem.

Lastly, there was also a controversy over the efficiency of the police force and it was caused by the sacking of many high ranking police officers who are in charge of dealing with the hostage as it could be seen by that they were not very efficient as they only managed to end the hostage only at 8:40pm instead of during the afternoon when some of the policemen were already delivering essentials such as food to the hostages, assuming that the problem could be resolved peacefully as the hostage taker was willing to release the sick, elderly, women and children. However, this also somehow portrayed the inefficiency of the police force and the whole police force was thus reorganized because of this incident.

Enrichment Links

-Shows the inefficiency of the Phillippines Police, their lack of training and lack of leadership.
-Shows various points of view to look at the Manila Hostage Crisis

Supplementary Videos



Critical Review

-Magnification of the country's corruption.

The Philippines hostage crisis exposed issues of police corruption as lawmakers have called for the resignation of Manila’s police commander, the chief of the National Capital Region police, and the head of the SWAT force.The Police Force, being accused of corruption, torture, and ineptitude have seen four members of the SWAT team losing their jobs and the Manila Police District chief, who directed the response to the hijacking, has offered to go on leave, saying he takes full responsibility for the episode. However, the head of the National Capital Region Police has refused to step down, saying he will await the results of the investigation. Police officials said the force handled the negotiations poorly, and the SWAT team that stormed the bus was poorly equipped and trained. Reuters reports that the weapons used in the incident are being tested to uncover whether the tourists were shot by Mendoza or by police officers during the raid.The nation's Police Force is viewed more as a source of livelihood for the policemen rather than an institution to protect law and order by the local which could have contributed to the poor handling of the crisis.

The Philippines Police Force are in an urgent need for reform and reorganization. Inefficiency, corruption and weak enforcement of policies are some major aspects that have to be rectified as these problems were highlighted by the Manila hostage crisis. For example, gunshots were heard at 6:40 p.m but the SWAT team did not storm the bus until after 7:30 p.m. This showed hesistaion by Manila’s police commander, the chief of the National Capital Region police, and the head of the SWAT force which urged the people to call for their resignation, in a bid to improve the nation's failing Police Force.

While blame is put on the largely inefficient Police Force, one cannot deny that the corruption of the Police Force stems from the equally lacking government. The government's inability to restrict the media seemed to have complicated matters.Footage from the standoff,that was broadcasted live, may have helped the gunman figure out what the police and the hostage negotiators were up to: he was reported to be watching himself and the would-be rescuers on the bus's onboard TV. And he supposedly started firing when he saw his brother being escorted from the scene. President Aquino's office admitted that there were flaws in the handling of the issue which just fuelled more criticism for his lack of visibilty during the crisis. In addition, 2 days after the incident, the coach that was shattered by the gunfight still stood at the same spot. All that is guarding it is nothing but a barricade. No guards. A small group of onlookers intruded the cordorned area, snapping pictures and police officers and students even took souvenir shots.A statement was only issued later in the day to ask people to refrain from intruding the crime scene.
The government is now protrayed as another weak pillar that is barely supporting the country. As much as President Aquino might have pledged to deliver, fight against corruption, as attempts are made to change the inefficiency that is often linked with the government, the battle has not started well. The government's image is now further reduced and in the long run, perhaps might lead to the sustaining image of the government being "permanently" inefficient and weak, weakening the government's stance on curbing corruption as the government itself is already full of corruption. To sum it up, mis-management, corruption and inefficiency still plagues the country, the Police, the government of Philippines and this issue is further highlighted by the shocker, the Manila Hostage Crisis.


A Stunning rendition of the shocking news.

Well he hijacked us and they killed 10 of us
he only wanted the job but you didn’t give him
I was on the bus
And I was trying to get out
And when he did not get
the job he fired
And you could have stopped him but you didn’t do that
I reckon it's up to us, to use bodies to block them

I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait, he’ll kill

Well open up your mind and use logic
Open up your eyes and help us
Look inside the bus and you’ll find sacrifices
Why can’t you just sacrifice like the way we did
We had to give up our lives
And you just had to give him the job and we will all be saved

So I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait he’ll kill
There's no need to complicate
Our time is short
This is our lives, but you ignored

A Resource For Current Affairs
by Ulric Teo Wei Jie , Lua Jiong Wei, Gareth Lim and Tsang Bao Xian.