I wanted to write a longer reaction to Billy Esposo's article on the Philippine Star yesterday but something better got in the way and that was an hour long massage at the Holiday Spa on D. Tuazon, Quezon City. (If ever you do get your muscles tied up in a knot from the news, you should try their Hilot Massage which lasts for an hour and a half.)
Honestly, I had decided yesterday that I had written enough posts on FB, Twitter, and blogger about the Quirino Grandstand hostage taking. I mean, what else can be said about it that hasn't been said already?
Apparently, knowing how easily inundated the average Filipino mind is, it seems all media is focused on an endless blame game so comprehensive and convoluted that it appears blame will eventually be pinned on the Hongkong tourists who were held hostage on August 23.
I think that the game here is to accelerate the news cycle and get people so fed up with news about the August 23 Hostage rescue blunder that they'd shoot themselves in the head if it ever came up in another conversation.
Anyway, Mr. Esposo should be pleased with himself for actually getting a rise out of a number of people. I actually put off writing about his column because I was so pissed off. Re-reading his article again, I came across this paragraph:
So how come Philippine media sensationalized all the negative aspects of the Hong Kong issues without as much as citing the facts governing these? What kind of journalism is that? It was as if our media was on the payroll of Hong Kong masters — buying and disseminating every line Hong Kong throws at us and our government. This goes beyond the issue of corruption in media and simply borders on treason.
Mr. Esposo's line actually cleaves to the line of another Aquino Apologist during the campaign season and that is, anyone who openly criticizes Aquino must be a paid hack.
Except this time, Esposo improves on this by saying that pointing to the President's lack of discernible leadership during this crisis is now tantamount to betraying your country.
Putting it in more simpler terms, Esposo is telling the media (of which he is part of) to shut the fuck up about whatever went wrong on August 23 -- just a few meters from where his master Noynoy Aquino took his oath of office as the 15th President of the Philippines.
The fact is, Mr. Esposo, I've been to Hongkong several times and each time I've come away with pretty good memories of that place.
Hongkong is what Makati and even Taguig dreams of becoming. It is a beautiful city where tourists can do dozens of things without any fear of being molested, robbed, or heaven forbid, held hostage because there is almost always a policeman nearby. If ever something goes awry, it happens despite all conceivable measures to keep such things from happening and I wish the same can be said of the Philippines.
The point is, they KNOW how to treat their tourists and how to make absolutely sure that their tourists are, at the very least, safe. I'd say, if you used a more mature mind to consider things, you would have to agree that we Filipinos have dozens of things to learn from Hongkong and its tourism industry -- so when they give us a tongue lashing about the cold blooded killing of 8 of their citizens, we ought to listen.
One lesson Aquino ought to learn, Mr. Esposo, is that a "stitch in time saves nine" and after mucking about in indecision during the crucial hours of the crisis, Aquino lost the opportunity to save the situation before it concluded in the killing of the hostages. So, after the death of the Hongkong tourists, there is really nothing more that Aquino can do except to apologize and bend over backwards -- no matter what Aquino does to assuage Hongkong right now, it will scarcely be enough to repair the damage that has already been done by his indecision and inaction.
The fact is the Hong Kong officials have been exceeding their limits on what they can say and do under diplomatic protocol. The fact is that the Hong Kong Journalist Association erred when they cited P-Noy for allegedly blaming media for the tragedy because P-Noy did no such thing — but merely mentioned that media (specifically broadcast media) added to the problems. The fact is the national government had nothing to do with draping the Philippine flag over the casket of Captain Rolando Mendoza.
And I suppose Esposo would know better about the limits that journalists ought to abide by? Right? Anyway, by his journalistic standards, the limits are delineated by how it positively or negatively Hongkong Journalists write about his idol Noynoy Aquino.
Anyway, "mentioning" or "blaming" the media for their role in the fatal conclusion of the Quirino Grandstand hostage taking is all semantics -- probably the lowest form of argumentation.
Esposo goes on:
Did a Chinese official apologize to the Madrigal family, the Philippine government or the Filipino people for their failure to protect Filipino tourists in one of the most visited sites in their capital? Was there even an official expression of regret from the Chinese government for that failure to protect visitors in what is expected to be a well secured area? Where then do they get the gall and the temerity to disrespect us and our president due to a similar incident?Granting that this sort of argument could even be used, where does that lead us?
Perhaps, Hongkong can say, well how many foreign tourists have been to Hongkong and left unscathed? How many foreigners have visited the Philippines and gotten robbed, held hostage, or killed?
The FACT is, MR. ESPOSO, from this point onwards until the end of his term, the WHOLE WORLD will be counting the number of tourists that get robbed, kidnapped, raped, or killed in the Philippines UNDER THE AQUINO ADMINISTRATION.
And I bet, if YOU COULD HELP IT, NO ONE WOULD WRITE ABOUT IT.