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Lawmakers condemn hostage-taking

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 18:59:00 08/24/2010

Filed Under: hostage taking, Grandstand Hostage, Crime, Congress

MANILA, Philippines--Lawmakers on Tuesday chorused its condemnation of the hostage-taking incident in Manila that claimed the lives of eight Hong Kong nationals and at the same time criticized government forces for poor handling of the situation.

They demanded a range of actions, from investigation to the sacking of police officials, saying loss of lives could have been averted had the authorities been on top of the situation.

Bacolod Representative Anthony Golez said in a news conference that in such a crisis situation, there should be a ?face,? who should be the person in charge.

Cavite Representative Jesus Crispin Remulla read Bob Steele?s Guidelines for Covering Hostage-Taking Crises, Prison Uprisings, Terrorist Action for the media.

Remulla said one of the guidelines for media covering ongoing crisis situations states that ?always assume that the hostage taker, gunman or terrorist has access to the reporting. Avoid describing with words or showing with still photography and video any information that could divulge the tactics or positions of SWAT members. Fight the urge to become a player in any standoff . . . .?

?Everything that should not happen happened yesterday,? Remulla said, citing that the media did not follow the guidelines.

Davao Representative Carlo Nograles called for a review of the process by which complaints against police and soldiers are decided.

?These cases must be speedily decided and given due course with adequate remedies available to the respondents,? he said in a text message.

Pangasinan Representative Leopoldo Bataoil, a retired police officer, said police would want negotiations to succeed as much as possible, adding that it was difficult to determine on the ground when they should take the final option.

Aurora Representative Juan Edgardo Angara said what happened would make a dent on the country?s efforts to boost local tourism.

San Juan City Representative Joseph Victor Ejercito called for the relief of officials involved in the crisis.



?The Chiefs of NCRPO (National Capital Region Police Office), MPD (Manila Police District) and SWAT Manila should be fired at the maximum. The manner on how they handled the crisis situation exposed the ineptness of the police force in resolving hostage crises,? he said.

Akbayan partylist Representative Arlene ?Kaka? Bag-ao and Walden Bello urged the committees on local government, public order and safety and information to conduct an inquiry to review the standard operating procedure in handling hostage-taking situations and the protocol on media cove rage and crowd control during such situation.

Earlier, Quezon City Representative Winston Castelo also called for a similar investigation.



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