Chinese-Filipinos, Estrada commemorate 2010 bus hostage crisis
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada joined the Chinese community in the second “Days of Prayer” for the victims of the 2010 Luneta bus hostage crisis, assuring his constituents that a similar attack would not happen under his watch.
On Thursday morning, Estrada and Manila Councilor Bernardito Ang, also the vice chair of the Manila Chinatown Development Council, led the prayer ceremony officiated by Buddhist monks at the Rizal Park’s Quirino Grandstand.
Also present were members of the Chinese community, consul general of the Federal Republic of China and media delegates from Hong Kong.
Two years ago, at the exact place, dismissed senior inspector Rolando Mendoza held as hostages 21 tourists and two Filipinos inside a bus. A heated encounter between him and the police led to his death and six Hong Kong nationals, a Canadian and a British national.
“This prayer is a clear testament that the Philippines is serious in its apology to Hong Kong,” Estrada said.
The 2010 hostage-taking strained the relationship of Hong Kong and Philippines, jeopardized the interests of thousands of Filipino workers in Hong Kong, and hounded President Aquino throughout his six years of service, Estrada said in a statement.
This is the third time since the Manila council, through resolution no. 147 series of 2013, declared July 14 of the Chinese Calendar as a day to commemorate, pray for and honor the victims of the Luneta bus hostage crisis.
July 14 coincides with August 27 of the Gregorian calendar. The first two days of prayer were held last August 9 in 2013 and 2014, also at the Quirino grandstand.
The hostage has strained the relationship of Hong Kong and Philippines and jeopardized 160,000 OFWs in Hong Kong and hounded President Aquino throughout his six years of service.
“There were lapses, miscalculations, instances of inefficient management and miscommunicationd on that day,” Estrada said.
Estrada said maintaining peace and order has always been an important element in attaining progress.
“This incident will never happen again,” he told a group of reporters.
Stephen Wong, the vice president of the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce, said the hostage taking was a tragedy unforeseen by many, but hoped it would not happen again.
Aside from intensifying and strengthening the SWAT’s operation during hostage crises, the Manila Police District has also launched a special task force for tourists to ensure protection and safety of tourists in the Philippines, said MPD chief Rolando Nana.
On Sept. 3, Estrada will go to Beijing, China as a guest of honor in the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the victory of the “world anti-fascist war” and the Chinese People’s “war of resistance against Japanese Aggression.”
Estrada said he saw the trip as an opportunity for him to help the Philippines strengthen ties with China.