Quirino Grandstand Bus Hostage Crisis
On August 23, 2010 the Quirino Grandstand Bus Hostage Crisis occurred when a dismissed Philippine National Police (PNP) officer took over a tour bus in Intramuros, Manila. Disgruntled former senior inspector Rolando Mendoza, from the Manila Police District (MPD) hijacked a tour bus carrying 25 people – 20 tourists, a tour guide all from Hong Kong and 4 Filipinos in an attempt to get his job back.
PRC Emergency Response Team coordinates with Ground Commanders in Quirino Grandstand
Six (6) ambulance teams from the Philippine Red Cross(PRC) National Headquarters and the Manila Chapter, Pasay Chapter and Caloocan Chapter were immediately dispatched to the scene that morning. PRC also activated other Metro Manila Chapters for possible assistance and alerted the Blood Bank for possible blood supply needs.
PRC Social Services conducted critical incident stress debriefing to the nine (9) hostage victims released that afternoon from the Quirino Grandstand Bus Hostage Crisis. PRC facilitated the transfer of the nine freed hostages from the Command Outpost back to the Manila Pavillon Hotel where they were checked in.
After about ten hours into the siege, negotiations broke down and the ensuing rescue assault and shootout resulted to the death of eight (8) hostages and Mendoza and nine (9) other people were injured. PRC ambulance teams transported four (4) victims to Manila Doctors Hospital and one (1) to Ospital ng Maynila when the hostage crisis ended that evening.
PRC Chairman Richard J. Gordon, who was on vacation in Hong Kong at that time immediately communicated with the Hong Kong Red Cross (HKRC) and provided a tracing report of all victims that night.
In an interview with CNN Rosemarie Church the following Tuesday morning August 24 in Hong Kong, PRC Chairman Gordon commiserated with the victims and the families saying that “what is most important is that we express our deepest condolences and prayers to the families and victims and I think I speak for the entire Filipino nation who don’t want this tragedy to happen but things go haywire that is where the investigation will clear a lot of things, hopefully.”
He further told CNN about the initiatives of the organization during the crisis with PRC immediately responding and sending ambulances and medical personnel and rendered psychosocial support and tracing to all victims as well as his subsequent communication and meeting with HKRC counterparts that day.
In an interview with CNN’s Anna Coren from an interview in Manila on August 24 with survivor Li Yik Bun mentions that it was Red Cross who facilitated his release after they were informed by his wife of his medical condition. PRC had passed on the information to Ground Commanders who negotiated his release. The Chinese newspaper Hong Kong Economic Times (HKET), in an article dated August 28, 2010 also mentions in detail PRC humanitarian care and assistance of victims particularly Mrs. Fu and her two children who lost their husband and father, respectively.
Mrs. Fu’s daughter Fu Chung Yin, four years old could not discern the meaning of death but her son Fu Chak Yin, ten years old could not bear to lose his father Fu Chuk Yan and had nightmares and cried a lot that he had to be comforted to sleep by PRC Social Worker Noemi Abon. Mrs. Fu even offered money to Ms. Abon to express her appreciation to the PRC but that the latter refused to accept, stating that it was their duty in the PRC to help and if they want, they may donate instead later through HKRC. HKRC Secretary General KM Chan thanked PRC Chairman Gordon saying that during the latter’s visit on August 24 to the formers office where they had a fruitful exchange “We are also so deeply grateful for the care your staff and volunteers had done to the HK hostages.” And that they would look for a suitable occasion to visit the PRC. HKRC Acting Head for International Relief Services Betty Lau expressed her deep gratitude for Gordon’s visit to HKRC office and “ the timely much needed assistance rendered to the needy during the tragic hostage taking incident in Manila.” HKRC Acting Head Lau even committed the assistance in the amount of US$ 110,000 for the victims of Typhoon Ketsana or known locally as Typhoon Ondoy when informed by Chairman Gordon of their continuing plight. Above the criticism, finger pointing and blame fixing during the Quirino Grandstand Bus Hostage Crisis, we must recognize the PRC for their courageous efforts during the tragedy being “Always First, Always Ready, Always There” during every disaster or tragedy.