In Hong Kong:

A Day of Sympathy and Reflection,

A Day for Solidarity and Justice

 

■   Narrative of the day-long activity
 

August 29, 2010

 

 

   
   
   
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Photos courtesy of United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK)
     
     

 

From: Filipino Migrant Workers' Union <fmwu.hk@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Aug 29, 2010 at 11:23 PM
Subject: Press Release and Photos of People's Vigil for Solidarity and Justice

A sea of Filipinos joined in by Hong Kong Chinese people gathered for the People's Vigil for Solidarity and Justice for the victims of the tragic August 23 hostage-taking crisis in Manila held at Chater Road

More than 10,000 people joined the vigil where they sang, prayed and offered candles, flowers and messages for the victims. Protesters from the march also held today by Hong Kong groups later joined the vigil and spoke their views on the tragedy. Two Hong Kong legislators, representatives from HK church groups, trade union, students and women's groups also spoke in the event.

The people's vigil was organized by the Filipino Migrant Workers' Union (FMWU), United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK), Justice and Peace Commission of the HK Catholic Diocese (HKJP), HK Catholic Commission for Labour Affairs (HKCCLA), Hong Kong Christian Council (HKCC), Association for the Advancement of Feminism (AAF), Asia-Pacific Students and Youth Association (ASA), World Student Christian Federation - Asia Pacific (WSCF-AP), BAYAN-HK and GABRIELA-HK.

Meanwhile, about 250 Filipinos from Shatin and Ma On Shan in Hong Kong' s New Territories also held a vigil and candle-lighting for the victims. This was organized by Migrante chapters in Shatin and Ma On Shan and the Methodist Shatin Filipino Fellowship.

Below is the complete joint press release of FMWU and UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK issued on the events today.


A Day of Simpathy and Refelction, A Day for Solidarity and Justice

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Joint Press Release
29 August 2010

For reference: Eman Villanueva Dolores Balladares
FMWU-HK UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK
Tel.: (852) 97585935 Tel.: (852) 97472986

Filipino domestic workers join HK people’s grief and protest
Vigil with local HK people highlights “day of sympathy, reflection, solidarity and justice”

“This is the first Sunday we’ve been out after the August 23 bloodbath. We dedicate this day to show our sympathy to the victims of the tragedy, to reflect on how and why such happens in Philippine society, and to show our solidarity with the people of Hong Kong in calling for justice.”

This was expressed today by Eman Villanueva of the Filipino Migrant Workers’ Union (FMWU), as the group took the occasion of its 12th anniversary program to hold a public program dedicated to the victims of the tragic Manila hostage-taking and to condemn what they call as a “state of disrespect to life and human rights” by the Philippine government and its armed forces.

The peak of the whole day event was the People’s Vigil for Solidarity and Justice attended by OFWs and local HK people including legislators, employers, students, workers and the religious. Earlier in the day, an All-Filipino Interfaith Prayer Offering that gathered church leaders in an hour of prayers and a Public Speakout and Forum, where OFWs were able to express their views on the tragedy, were also held.

The two-hour vigil and candle-lighting was jointly organized with local groups including the Justice and Peace Commission of the HK Catholic Diocese (HKJP), HK Catholic Commission for Labour Affairs (HKCCLA), Hong Kong Christian Council (HKCC), Association for the Advancement of Feminism (AAF), Asia-Pacific Students and Youth Association (ASA) and World Student Christian Federation - Asia Pacific (WSCF-AP). Filipino groups like BAYAN-HK and GABRIELA-HK also led the event.

Protesters from the rally organized by Hong Kong political parties earlier in the day also joined in the vigil. The vigil culminated in a symbolic signing of messages of those who attended in a giant tarpaulin bearing the call for justice.

“It is our condolence and sympathy that we want to convey. It is the deeper and systemic problems within the police and the government in the Philippines that we want to expose. It is our solidarity that we want to show and the call for justice we share with the Hong Kong people that we want to echo,” said Villanueva.

Dolores Balladares, chairperson of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK), said that the botched rescue that saw eight people dead and scores more gravely injured, showed a clear disregard to making the lives of the hostages a topmost priority. She said that “the low regard for life and the safety and protection of civilians is a mark of the armed institutions of the government.”

According to her, such conduct is deeply ingrained in the orientation, training and operation of the police and the whole armed forces. “They are not based or directed by respect to human rights such as the right to life or due process and so wantonly conduct actions without any consideration to its outcome. Thus, an operation that should have saved lives ended up in the killing of almost half of the innocent hostages,” she stated.

Balladares said that “the competence of the police and the Philippine armed forces is not on saving and protecting people’s lives and rights but on ending and violating them.” This she said is shown by the spotty human rights record of the Philippine police and armed forces that is mired with cases of corruption, involvement in organized crimes, torture of suspected criminals as well as extrajudicial killing, illegal arrest and enforced disappearance of activists and human rights defenders.

This sentiment was also echoed by Axel Pinpin, secretary-general of the peasant group KASAMA-TK in Southern Tagalog who was in Hong Kong for a visit and who also offered poems for the victims of the tragedy and human rights abuses in the Philippines.

“The same police unit – the Manila Police District – who conducted the whole rescue operation was also the same unit who violently dispersed the peaceful action of farmers in July 3 this year for genuine agrarian reform. It just showed that when it comes to saving lives and respecting human rights, they are incompetent. But when it is about fascism and repression, they can do it with flying colors and even with eyes closed,” Pinpin stated.

Finally, Balladares said that the show of solidarity between OFW groups and the HK people on the day’s events will continue as they monitor the investigations being conducted on the tragic hostage-taking as well as the reported backlash on Filipino migrants in Hong Kong.

“There have been reports of unfortunate reactions by a few Hong Kong people against Filipino migrants such as arbitrary termination of contracts and some cases of verbal harassment. We shall together stand guard against these.

But we do believe that the concern of the overwhelming majority of HK people is more on making sure that the Philippine government and officials take responsibility and accountability to what happened to their compatriots. Our call is the same for Filipinos who have also been victimized by the human rights violations stemming from the very policies of the government. The culture of impunity in the Philippines must end,” Balladares concluded.#
 

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
The Secretariat
United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK)
2/F., New Hall, St. John's Cathedral,
4 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong SAR
Tel. (852) 3156-2447 Fax. (852) 2526-2894
E-mail: secretariat@unifil.org.hk
Website: http://www.unifil.org.hk
Blog: compatriots.blogspot.com
YouTube: www.youtube.com/unifilhk

 

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

A Day to Remember, A Day of Hope*

Sympathy for the victims poured, reflections on the tragedy were expressed, the call for justice ruled, and people’s solidarity resounded.

It was supposed to be the 12th anniversary celebration of the Filipino Migrant Workers’ Union (FMWU). But as tragedy struck more than 20 Hong Kong Chinese tourists in what is now known as the Quirino Bloodbath, the FMWU decided to offer the day for the hostage-taking victims and for the Filipino migrant workers and Hong Kong Chinese people to express their sentiments on the condemnable conduct of the Philippine police and government that led to the death of eight hostages and serious trauma to the survivors.

Together with Filipino organizations such as United Filipinos in Hong Kong – MIGRANTE, BAYAN-HK, and the women’s group GABRIELA-HK, the whole-day program was designed in order to extend the Filipino migrant workers’ condolences to the victims, give an opportunity for the migrant workers to ponder on how and why the tragedy occurred, highlight the overwhelming call for justice and show that people’s solidarity is paramount at this time when both Filipinos and the Hong Kong people are in grief and indignant.

Local Hong Kong organizations and regional groups such as the HK Justice and Peace Commission of the HK Catholic Diocese (HKJP), HK Catholic Commission for Labour Affairs (HKCCLA), HK Christian Council (HKCC), Association for the Advancement of Feminism (AAF), World Student Christian Federation – Asia Pacific (WSCF-AP)and the Asia-Pacific Students and Youth Association (ASA) readily expressed their support to co-organize the People’s Vigil for Justice and Solidarity that shall be the culminating event of the day.

A Day of Sympathy and Reflection

In the morning, Filipino religious leaders from Christian churches and the Moslem community led more than a thousand Filipino migrants for an Interfaith Gathering to offer solemn and heartfelt prayers for the victims. This was then followed by a Public Speak Out where Filipino migrant workers freely expressed their views on the August 23 tragedy, what they felt as they saw, read and heard of the events, and why justice and solidarity should be advanced.

The scorching heat of the noonday sun did not stop ordinary Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from expressing their dismay and anger at the ineptitude of the Philippine authorities in handling the crisis. Their testimonies on how their employers and the Hong Kong public took offense on the actions and statements of President Noynoy Aquino himself during and after the crisis fueled their grave disappointment at how insensitive the government was to the plight of migrants who were equally incensed but also, at the same time, anxious at how the anger of the Hong Kong people could impact them.

Speakers in the program delivered clear messages that Filipino migrants reflected on.

The tragedy did not only show the inability of Philippine authorities to resolve such crisis. Running even deeper was the systemic issue of how the Philippine Police and even the whole Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) do not put protecting lives and upholding human rights as topmost concerns in their actions. The orientation and training of these institutions of the Philippine government were not directed towards service to the people but towards repression and wanton disregard of people’s rights. As one migrant worker succinctly quipped, “they were ready and equipped to massacre peasants and farm workers in Hacienda Luisita but were incapable of saving hostages.”


The state of human rights in the country was further highlighted by the poems written and read by poet-peasant activist Axel Pinpin who was himself a victim of police brutality and repression. Renowned late labour leader Crispin Beltran – whose life of fighting against injustices and for human rights was narrated in the book simply titled “Ka Bel” – was also commemorated. Meanwhile, Filipino migrant workers also expressed their views on various human rights themes through their own poems they made that day.

The Public Speak Out then proceeded with more testimonies and messages. A Filipino lawyer and human rights activist said that another tragedy that the recent events showed was that the system that exists in the Philippines is one where the people are forced to extreme actions just so their grievances can be heard by the government who supposedly has a duty to listen and act when the people speak. An ordinary migrant worker also lambasted the “To Serve and Protect” slogan of the Philippine Police as an empty rhetoric given the various crimes police officers have been implicated in. As what another OFW said, “if this is really true, why do we cringe when we see them?”

In between testimonies and messages, cultural presentations further impressed the messages that the program wished to convey. LIKHA Filipino Migrants Cultural Organization interpreted the songs Manggagawa (Workers) and Pahayagan (Newspaper) that showed the oppression against workers and repression against the people. A mix of progressive and popular songs appropriate for the day’s theme were rendered and taught to the migrant workers present.

Even before the People’s Vigil started, some Hong Kong Chinese already joined the program and expressed their views. A group of former university students, who heard of Filipinos receiving the unfortunate backlash of the tragedy and decided to rove around Central to express their love and support for Filipinos through songs, also took part in the program and sang The Beatles popular hit “Imagine”.
 

A Day for Solidarity and Justice

At around 5:00pm, the crowd already swelled to a couple of thousands. By the time the People’s Vigil started at 6:00pm, a sea of more than 10,000 people – mostly in black, wearing white ribbons, sitting on the road or standing on the pavements - covered the stretch of Chater Road where the program was held. Many Hong Kong Chinese who joined the 80,000-strong march led by members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) earlier that day proceeded to join the vigil and sat and stood side-by-side with the OFWs.

The vigil, conducted in English and Chinese, started with a song of tribute to the victims. Local Hong Kong Chinese took turns in condemning the tragedy and President Aquino’s leadership and inactions actions in such a time of crisis. Doris Lee of the Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC), Elizabeth But from HKCCLA, Eric Lai of the Chinese University Students Union (CUSU) and Mabel Au of the AAF all spoke against the handling of the hostage crisis but also raised their concerns to the spate of human rights violations committed by the Philippine government, the police and the AFP against the people in the Philippines. They hit the prevailing culture of impunity also shown by the lack of accountability and responsibility by Philippine authorities over the botched rescue operation.
 

 


In their message, LegCo members Hon. Lee Cheuk-Yan and Hon. Cyd Ho stressed to their compatriots that migrant Filipinos should not be the target of the people’s anger but the system and governance that led to such a tragedy. They said that Filipino migrants are also victims of the system of corruption and low regard for human rights in the Philippines. They called for the Hong Kong people to spare Filipino migrants from actions that they deem express their sentiments. This was warmly welcomed by the audience while OFW leaders also pledged to stand guard against such actions.

The community prayer was led by Rev. Phyllis Wong of the Kowloon Union Church, Sr. Maria Salome Moe from the Catholic Church and Ptr. Joram Calimutan of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.
 

 

To show their grief and drumbeat the call for justice, Filipino and Hong Kong Chinese who joined the vigil signed the huge banner bearing the message of condolence and for justice with their own messages and names. Lit candles and flowers were put around the banner while the songs Let There Be Peace and Bridge Over Troubled Water were sang in the background. A rousing rendition of “We Shall Overcome” closed the historic event.

The show of solidarity between the Filipinos and the Hong Kong Chinese people was astounding.

Leaders and members of the HK Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) thanked the organizing groups for the event as it overwhelmingly showed the solidarity of the Filipino people to the people of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong workers signed the condolence banner en masse as they expressed the uplifting of their spirits at the show of support and solidarity by the Filipino community.

Filipinos present shook the hands and also thanked speakers from the Hong Kong Chinese groups for their messages. One OFW said that what they said and the solidarity shown banished her fears of racial backlash against Filipinos that many others shared because of irresponsible rumors. Another Filipino worker relayed that her employer, upon seeing her presence in the vigil, even called her up in the middle of the program to express his appreciation and urged her to finish the program. Still another OFW relayed that she was allowed by her employer to go to the People’s Vigil even if it was not supposed to be her day off.

One OFW also said that after the August 23 tragedy, her employer stopped talking to her. But after her employer saw the huge OFW turnout at the People’s Vigil on the television, their warm relationship resumed.

Truly the message that the People’s Vigil aimed to relay reached the Hong Kong public.

A Day to Remember, A Day of Hope

The day’s events showed that Filipinos do share the grief of the Hong Kong people over the death of their compatriots. It also showed that Filipino migrant workers also do question the system that paved the way for such a tragedy to occur.

Filipino workers also share the call for justice – justice to the victims of the hostage-taking crisis and justice to those who have been victimized by a system that breeds human rights violations. It is on this call that Filipino migrant workers are in solidarity with the Hong Kong people and shall continue to push until achieved by the victims, the Hong Kong people, the OFWs and the Filipino people.

The August 29 program carried the theme A Day of Sympathy and Reflections, A Day for Justice and Solidarity. Indeed, it was.

For Filipino migrant workers and the Hong Kong Chinese people, it was a day to remember. It was also a day filled with hopes to live by in the future.

 

====================

*From: FMWU Hong Kong <fmwu.hk@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Sep 1, 2010 at 4:44 PM
Subject: A Narrative - "A Day for Sympathy and Reflection, A Day for Solidarity and Justice"
To:

Dear friends,

We are sending you the narrative of our activity last Sunday dubbed as "A Day for Sympathy and Reflection, A Day for Solidarity and Justice" part of which was the "Peoples' Vigil for Solidarity and Justice" which we co-organised with some local organisations and NGOs. This is our way of expressing not only our condolences and sympathy to the victims of the 8.23 tragedy but also our collective desire for justice.

We would also like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to the Filipino migrant organisations and individuals who spent their rest day to join this event and show their solidarity to the victims and the Hong Kong people. And to all the local Hong Kong groups, Churches, NGOs and individuals who joined us on this important day, your presence and participation meant so much for the Filipino community in Hong Kong.

Long Live International Solidarity!

Sincerely,

Eman C. Villanueva
Vice Chairperson


=====================================================
Filipino Migrant Workers' Union - Hong Kong (FMWU-HK)
c/o APMM, G/F., No. 2 Jordan Road,
Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR
Tel. (852) 2723-7536 / 9758-5935 / 9104-1411 / 9031-1602
Fax. (852) 2735-4559
E-mail: fmwu.hk@gmail.com

The FMWU is affiliated with the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU; the
Asian Migrants' Coordinating Body (AMCB); and the International Migrants Alliance (IMA).

 

 

DON’T BLAME THE MEDIA FOR THE HOSTAGE CRISIS
Antonio Zumel Center for Press Freedom
27 August 2010

http://www.zumel.com/

The Antonio Zumel Center for Press Freedom cautions the Aquino government from using the recent hostage crisis in the Philippines and the blame game going on against the media to institute restrictive policies against the press.

Even before an investigation of the police’s conduct of the botched rescue operation has been launched, criticism against the press that covered the incident has swelled, with officials suggesting measures – even a law! -- that may be used to violate freedom of the press or restrict journalists from effectively doing their job.

President Benigno Aquino added fuel to the anti-media sentiment by saying that the media coverage of the hostage-taker’s brother being arrested “further agitated the hostage-taker,” despite the fact that it was clear the manner of the arrest was at issue, not whether journalists were there to record it.

We view these unfair criticisms against the press as an effort by the government to shift the blame from itself because of its incompetent handling of the crisis. As the Hongkong Journalists Association pointed out, “nobody can tell if the same tragedy would not have taken place without the presence of the media. What we can be sure of is that without the presence of the media no knowledge of this horrific tragedy would have been known to the outside world.”

An effect of this blame game encouraged by the Aquino government is that there are more stories coming out now about the media’s conduct than about the massive, system-wide corruption in the Philippine National Police, which is at the root of the hostage crisis. The allegation against Sr. Insp. Rolando Mendoza – that he extorted money from a person he and his team earlier arrested – indicates how brazenly corrupt many police officers have become.

On the other hand, Mendoza’s claim that he had been treated unfairly, if true, indicates how the government has failed to uphold the interest of police officers. This can be traced directly to the same massive, and system-wide corruption that has bedevilled the PNP for decades.

While we share the frustration by many that the live, blow-by-blow coverage of the hostage crisis shamed the Philippines to the world, that does not justify the antipathy toward the media that the Aquino government has helped unleashed. What shamed Filipinos was not the conduct of journalists covering the incident; what shamed Filipinos was the incompetent conduct and the inadequate and confused response by the authorities.

Although media should certainly reexamine their conduct and determine which areas they can improve, they would serve the public interest best if they instead monitor whether the PNP and the authorities are really taking steps to improve THEIR conduct and avoid another fatal blunder.

What’s needed in incidents like these is effective leadership on the ground. Journalists are willing to cooperate with the authorities, we have no doubt about that. The government should not use the recent hostage crisis to violate press freedom and emasculate the media.

-3o -

 

 

Teargas

Axel Pinpin
 

Epektibo ang teargas na inyong inihagis,
Milyung galong luha ang kanyang itinigis.

Tanging sa Pangulong bato ang dilaw na puso
Hindi nanuot ang hapdi nito --
Ngisi ang inihatid sa nainsultong mamamayang Tsino.

     
           

This is the copy of the open letter that Migrante BC sent to the Hong Kong Trade and Economic Office  (Canada) which is the official representative of the Hong Kong SAR Government in Canada.

  

 

OPEN LETTER

 

Mr. Donald Tsang

Chief Executive

Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

People’s Republic of China

 

c/o Ms. Catherine Yuen

Principal Consultant, Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office

500-666 Burrard Street, Vancouver BC V6C 3P2

Email: info_vancouver@hketo.ca

 

September 1, 2010

 

The members of Migrante B.C. send its condolences to the families of the eight Hong Kong passengers who died from the shooting. We also extend our sympathies to the other passengers who were injured and traumatized, as well as to their families. What happened last August 23th in Manila was senseless and very tragic.

 

As Filipino immigrants and migrant workers here in B.C., we have friends, co-workers and even employers who are from Hong Kong. We share in your loss and grief.

 

We are also deeply dismayed and angered at the conduct of the negotiations and the resolution of the hostage crisis by the Philippine authorities. Migrante B.C. joins the many voices calling for a thorough investigation and inquiry into the police conduct of the rescue operation.

 

There is nothing to justify the actions of Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza, however desperate he may have been. Taking innocent civilians hostage and shooting them is unforgivable and need to be condemned.

 

The mishandling of the hostage situation by the police and government authorities, as well as its aftermath, has shamed the Philippine nation. The August 24th Hostage Incident must never happen again. #

 

 

On behalf of Migrante B.C.,

 

Jane Ordinario


226 E. Woodstock Avenue
Vancouver, BC Canada V5W 1N1 

Tel. No.: 604.254.5850
migrante_bc@ymail.com

www.migrantebc.org  

 

 
 
           
     
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N.B. - This is a press statement from concerned faculty members, students and
staff from the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication

Journalists and media workers should know crisis reporting, Aquino
administration must be held accountable for disorganized police

Statement from 10 faculty members, 155 students and 4 staff from the UP College
of Mass Communication led by Dean Roland Tolentino dated August 27, 2010

As the police need to review the handling of crisis situations, it is necessary
for journalists and media workers to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses in
reporting the hostage-taking last August 23 which left nine dead (including the
hostage-taker) and seven wounded. Even if the media’s role is to help shape
public opinion, the reporting of relevant information should be also in the
context of ensuring the safety of civilians.

While our friends in the media should be commended for providing up-to-date
information on what transpired, some media organizations should be criticized
for the same reason because they ended up giving TOO MUCH information.

Commendation, however, cannot be given to the police as it failed not only to
properly coordinate with media but also to ensure the peaceful resolution of the
hostage-taking. Those responsible for the failed operation should even be
punished. The disarray in the police operation reflects the disorganization and
chaos in the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Department of Interior and
Local Government (DILG) and the Aquino administration.

We need to remember some basic rules in covering hostage-taking incidents.
First, journalists and media workers should refrain from interviewing a
hostage-taker and reporting the latter’s statements while the situation is not
yet resolved. Second, broadcast news anchors and field reporters who give live
reports must not engage in speculation and innuendo as they try to “kill time”
during a lull in their reportage. Third, journalists and media workers should
avoid interviewing elements of the police (e.g., snipers taking aim of their
target) while an operation is ongoing. Fourth, they cannot report a
hostage-taker’s state of mind or mental condition while there is still a
standoff because it can make the situation worse. Fifth, they should be very
careful when interviewing family members or friends of a hostage-taker as their
statements could either even more agitate the latter. Sixth, they cannot give a
live, blow-by-blow account of actual police operations as doing so eliminates
the element of surprise in ending the crisis.

In analyzing the media’s coverage of what happened last August 23, there was
information that proved to be relevant not to the public but to the
hostage-taker as he became desperate and ended up killing the hostages. That
media covered live the arrest of the hostage-taker’s brother apparently did not
help in resolving the situation.

It is appalling that the live coverage was done not to help the public make
sense of the situation but only to milk it for all it is worth. The competition
for higher ratings among broadcast stations was evident as they tried to provide
“exclusive” reports, even going to the extent of interviewing another
hostage-taker in 2007 who expressed no remorse in what he did. He even claimed
that he did it for the country.

Just like the police, media should use the time to reflect. Journalists and
media workers, after all, should not allow themselves to be held hostage by
their ignorance of ethical practice because they will end up doing a disservice
to the victims and the public. And on the part of the Aquino administration, it
should be resolute in resolving crisis situations affecting not only visiting
tourists but also the majority of the Filipinos.

(end)

Danilo A. Arao
Assistant Professor
Department of Journalism
College of Mass Communication Plaridel Hall
University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, Q.C. 1101
Telephone: (+632) 920-6852, 981-8500 loc. 2672
Fax: (+632) 920-6852
Mobile Phone: (+63908) 866-ARAO
Email: danilo.arao@up.edu.ph
Website: http://www.dannyarao.com

 

     
     
     
           
     
   
     
     

 

On the Hostage Crisis: The Fear of Heightening Demands
Date:  25 August 2010
Reference Person:  Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general
Contact information: 09287215313

The Fear of Heightening Demands

The Philippines’ genuine, militant and nationalist labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condoles with the families of the nine victims of the August 23 hostage-taking incident in the Quirino Grandstand.

Their deaths are tragic and are made more so by the incompetence of the Philippine government of President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III in handling the situation. Their deaths are completely unnecessary.

The intransigence of the Aquino government in not giving in to the simple demand of the hostage taker of being reinstated to work is appalling. Given the hostage taker’s state of mind and the form of action that he took, the PNP and the Aquino government could have just said that they are giving in to his demand, worked for the peaceful release of the hostages, and brought the hostage taker promptly to jail.

After the bloody resolution of the hostage taking, President Aquino would concede that he could not be satisfied with the police’s performance because there were people who died. He should not be satisfied with his performance either.

The Aquino government is afraid of heightening demands. It displayed its frame of mind when President Aquino himself said it feared that the hostage taker’s demands would increase had it presented a high-level negotiator. The prospect of the hostage taker’s modest demand increasing is scarier for the Aquino government than the prospect of the terrorized hostages getting killed.

What is worse, however, is that the government did little to appease the hostage taker, while also doing little to prevent him from getting all worked up.

The hostage-taking crisis presents the Filipino workers and people a parable of the situation that we are all in. We are being hostaged by poverty, hunger and lack of livelihoods, whose demands to the government are but modest. Fearing heightening expectations, however, the government would rather prolong our agony and deny the modest help it can easily give.

The government is more afraid of heightening demands than of our continued suffering and possible death. Worse, it is pushing our hostage takers to go on a rampage. We hostages of poverty, hunger and lack of livelihoods must take things into our hands. We have to break free from our hostage takers – but also from a government that does not fear our continued suffering and possible death.

 

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

From:

http://philippinerevolution.net/

 

PRESS RELEASE
Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines
 

CPP scores "colossal stupidity and incompetence" in hostage incident

 

August 24, 2010
Other versions: Hiligaynon

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today expressed sympathy with the victims of yesterday's hostage-taking in Manila, and joined nationwide and international indignation at the "colossal stupidity and incompetence" of police and government officials in the handling of the incident that led to unnecessary bloodshed.

At least nine people were killed, including the hostage-taker, former police captain Reynaldo Mendoza. The eight others were Chinese nationals on a vacation tour in Manila. Reports that some of the hostages were killed or wounded by police fire during the assault are being looked into.

Mendoza commandeered the bus used for the tour early morning yesterday in a desperate attempt to draw attention to his demand to be reinstated in the Philippine National Police (PNP). He was dismissed from the police force in February 2009 after charges of extortion were filed against him. He claimed that due process was denied him in the case.

"Colossal police incompetence was highlighted in almost every aspect of the hostage crisis," pointed out the CPP.

"Government and police officials failed to draw out the hostage-taker through negotiations. Police actions, including the arrest of his brother and nephew later in the day, only drew the ire of the hostage-taker and made worse the situation," said the CPP. "The fumbled police assault resulted in unnecessary bloodshed."

"The Filipino people are dismayed at the monumental foul-ups and deplore the incompetence and stupidities of government and police in handling the hostage crisis."
Reference:
Marco Valbuena
Media Officer
Cellphone Numbers: 09156596802 :: 09282242061
E-mail:cppmedia@gmail.com

 

     
     
           
     
     
           

 

Noynoy’s reaction to Facebook criticism a negative ‘major major’ – Anakbayan

by Anakbayan

“Major repression in response to major incompetence”

This was the reaction of youth group Anakbayan to moves by the Aquino administration to suppress anti-government criticism in the popular social networking site Facebook.

Following the atrocious handling of Tuesday’s hostage-taking which resulted in the death of eight Hong Kong nationals, President Noynoy Aquino’s official Facebook fanpage has been flooded with comments criticizing his handling of the crisis, both from Filipinos and Hong Kong nationals. Some have even gone as far as to call for the president’s resignation.

“Everyone’s outraged over the fatally incompetent handling of the Phil. National Police and the entire Aquino administration. Following the principle of ‘command responsibility’, it is natural for the peoples of both the Philippines and Hong Kong to be angry at Noynoy” said Anakbayan spokesperson Charisse Bañez.

During the entire duration of the hostage-taking, there was not a single public appearance or statement from Aquino. He was also inexplicably unavailable when the chief executive of Hong Kong was seeking a dialogue with him.

She exclaimed “He has already said that he is no ‘Superman’, yet he isn’t open to other views and constructive criticism. No wonder he’s a Super-incompetent!”

She added “President Aquino, you may find this hard to believe due to your personal arrogance, but believe us: amidst the mass of criticism are nuggets of wisdom which you would do well to heed”.

“So much for his SONA’s boast of a government that isn’t deaf to the people” quipped the youth leader.

Disturbing trend?

Meanwhile, Bañez noted that there is a disturbing trend of ‘intolerance’ by the present administration towards dissenters in which the Facebook suppression is the latest incident.

- The July 3 violent dispersal of a peaceful camp-out on Mendiola Bridge by farmers calling for land reform. 40 farmers and supporters were arrested.

- The July 5 violent dispersal of a march by youths and students to the U.S Embassy.

- The banning of rallies near Aquino’s ancestral home at Times St. in Quezon City during the State of the Nation Address.

- The deployment of 10,000 cops, the same number deployed by former President Gloria Arroyo during her SONAs, to stop rallies by leftist groups during the State of the Nation Address.

- The August 20 violent dispersal of a group of high school students seeking a dialogue with Education secretary Armin Luistro at the DepEd national office. Five were badly wounded.

- The August 24 violent dispersal of a picket by students at the Rizal Tech. University during a visit by Aquino himself. Four were arrested.

- The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ announced extension of Oplan Bantay Laya, the military policy which has been blamed for the widespread human rights violations under the past administration.

- The assassination of seven members of left-leaning partylist groups by alleged military elements in the first month of Aquino’s term. Three came from Katribu, two from Bayan Muna, and one each from Anakpawis and ACT Teachers.

“At this rate, we will not be surprised if Aquino turns out to be just as bad, or even worse, than his predecessor in terms of respecting human rights” noted the youth leader. ###
 

     
     
           
     
     
     

News Release
26 August 2010
Reference: Lana Linaban, secretary general (0908-8653582)

Our compatriots in HK must be spared,
GABRIELA to Hong Kong citizens, “we are one with you.”

Reeling from the bungled hostage rescue operation by Philippine law enforcement agents and public officials that resulted to the death of their compatriots in Manila , anger of Hong Kong citizens is expected. But GABRIELA calls for sobriety and calmness echoing fear of United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-HK) that Flipino workers in the territory become easy target of “vengeance.”

“We are alarmed by the reports of negative treatment of Hongkong citizens toward Filipinos in Hongkong. Anger runs high understandably, but we appeal to all concern to spare innocent civilians from possible retaliations.” stated Lana Linaban, secretary general of GABRIELA.

Of around 200,000 OFWs in Hong Kong , majority are women and work as domestic helpers. According to reports, at least one domestic worker was sacked by her employer in the aftermath of the bloodbath.

“We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the bereaved. We join them in their call for justice. Like them, we condemn the inefficiency of Philippine authorities in handling the crisis. Like them, we believe that bloodbath could have been avoided and lives could have been spared, but the government’s negligence was stamped throughout the ordeal leading to a horrible end.But we also appeal that our innocent compatriots slaving away in Hong Kong be spared from possible retaliations. Like the fate suffered by the victims, OFWs in the territory are also neglected by the Philippine government,” added Linaban

GABRIELA notes that OFWs, especially the multitude of women working as domestic workers in Hong Kong , are only forced to go abroad due to economic necessities. “It would be grossly unfair on their part to bear the brunt of this crisis on top of their already difficult circumstances,” Linaban lamented.

GABRIELA calls on Aquino to be visible this time and be on the forefront in addressing the impact of the hostage crisis.

“He has to ensure that the Philippine authorities in Hongkong will work 24/7 to ensure the safety of Filipinos. Further, he has to ensure that swift justice is delivered, lest the country’s relation with Hong Kong remains strained and our OFWs are the ones most affected,” Linaban concluded.###

Public Information Department
GABRIELA National Office
(+632) 3712302 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (+632) 3712302 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

 

     
           
     
     
     

 

Fearing possible reprisals to Pinoy community in HK
MIGRANTE calls for peaceful resolution of Manila hostage crisis

An alliance of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) groups worldwide has called on the Philippine government to exhaust all means necessary to bring the ongoing hostage crisis in Manila to a peaceful resolution.

“We are calling on the Aquino administration to pull out all stops to ensure that the ongoing hostage crisis will be brought to a peaceful resolution so as not to expose our thousands of our compatriots in Hong Kong to possible attacks and reprisals,” said Migrante International Chairperson Garry Martinez.

At 10:00 o' clock this morning, a dismissed Police officer took hostage a bus load of Hong Kong tourists at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila. The police officer, Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza, was reportedly demanding his reinstatement to the police force.

The Migrante leader said that we have more than 150,000 Filipinos working in Hong Kong and most of them are domestic workers.

He said the ongoing hostage drama in Manila, if not handled well by Philippine authorities, will likely expose Filipinos in Hong Kong to possible violent reprisals in the former British colony. ###

--
Website: http://migranteinternational.org
Office Address: #10 Banuyo St.Brgy.Amihan, Project 3, Quezon City
Telefax: 9114910

--
Website: http://migranteinternational.org

Office Address: #10 Banuyo St.Brgy.Amihan, Project 3, Quezon City
Telefax: 9114910

     
           

 

A Voice of Reason
by Joaquin Sy on Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 5:21am

Excerpted/ translated from a long article written by Miss Li Ying Chuan and published in the major Hong Kong newspaper Ming Bao. Miss Li was one of the survivors of the hostage taking at the Quirino Grandstand. Her 67 year old mother inhaled lots of tear gas when the police attacked the bus to rescue the hostages and was confined at the Manila Doctors Hospital.

The article, entitled "Do not turn our sword towards the weak as we seek justice for the victims", presented a unique eyewitness account, from inside the bus, of the harrowing experiences the hostages went through. But what struck me about the article was the ending, which runs counter to the prevailing mood in Hong Kong.

".... During our two days stay at the hospital many Philippine government officials and some other people, including the president's youngest sister, came to visit and comfort us. To all of them I expressed my anger and demanded a thorough investigation to pinpoint responsibility, so that the victims and their relatives may get justice. The hospital staff did their very best to care for the wounded. I feel a deep gratitude towards them. I understand that they tried their best to make up for their country's shortcomings…..

Having returned to Hong Kong, I heard a lot of anti-Filipino statements from my fellow Hong Kong residents. Some people suggested sending home all the Filipino maids and let the Philippine economy suffer, as a way of getting even, and some Filipino maids were insulted in the streets.

I understand perfectly the anger towards the ineptitude of the Philippine government and police, as I have personally experienced these. But, what has the ineptitude got to do with the Filipino people? Have we forgotten how it was to be discriminated against? Hong Kong was a colony for many years, and the ethnic Chinese suffered discrimination in daily life and the system set up by the so-called "masters".
 

Now we blame the Filipino maids who really have nothing to do with the hostage taking. They are in fact the victims of their own government. It was an inept government that forced countless Filipino women to leave their own children to take care of other people's children. Why do we now treat them as scapegoats for their government's ineptitude? Why is it that anger and pain have turned some Hong Kong people into racists?

I am reminded of what the great Chinese writer Lu Xun said: When the brave gets angry, he turns his sword towards the mighty; but when the coward gets angry, he turns his sword towards the weak.
 

 

 

 

 


The way to appease the souls of the victims is not to blame or vent our anger at the innocent Filipino maids in Hong Kong or the Filipino people. We must direct our anger to the Philippine government and police, from whom we must demand a thorough investigation so that those responsible get the punishment they deserve. We must also assist and care for the relatives of the victims so that they could move on with their lives. This is how we must show our concern for the departed.

In the long term, we must support the Filipino people in building a better government and a better society where justice reigns. This is the only way for Hong Kong to deserve its place in the international community as a truly humane major metropolis."

 

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