Angry media reaction to Manila siege

  • Published

Media in the Philippines, China and Hong Kong have reacted angrily in the aftermath of the Manila bus siege, in which eight Hong Kong tourists were killed by a former police officer.

In Hong Kong, public anger over the siege's handling has resulted in the territory's government issuing its highest travel advisory alert to citizens planning to visit the Philippines, whilst a backlash against Filipino migrant workers has resulted in some immigrants working as domestic staff losing their jobs.

Sections of the Philippines press worried about how the incident would hit the country's foreign image, and there was concern about the media's role in the siege.

Hong Kong and China

South China Morning Post (Hong Kong daily)

"There is understandable anger in Hong Kong towards the police tactical response team in Manila. But what is not comprehensible is why people have vented their frustrations on Filipinos. Such behaviour towards them smacks of racism. The response is knee-jerk, but punishes Filipinos as a race for an incident that they had nothing to do with."

"The incident still has too many questionable points and the Philippine government still has no intention of earnestly learning its lesson and paying compensation to the victims. Until the Philippine government gives a serious account and deals with the aftermath we believe that the Hong Kong government should maintain the black travel advisory on the Philippines for a long time."

The Sun (Hong Kong daily)

"This bloody incident has once again sounded the alarm for the people of Hong Kong that this world is not peaceful. If the Philippine authorities cannot guarantee the safety of Hong Kong travellers the people of Hong Kong should respond with a firm boycott."

Oriental Daily News (Hong Kong daily)

"The performance of the Philippine police was not only clumsy, but was extremely irresponsible for the whole world to see. The Philippine authorities must make a sincere apology to the people of Hong Kong and hold people accountable for dereliction of duty."

Apple Daily (Hong Kong newspaper)

"The Hong Kong government and the central government are not totally blameless in this matter ... The Philippine authorities' negligent and incompetent performance must certainly be condemned, but the Hong Kong government's ignorance as well as the central government's incompetence also indirectly killed the eight hostages in this incident."

Global Times (Beijing-based English-language daily)

"The Philippine government needs to take the latest tragedy as a strong lesson in making an overhaul of its security system, so as to recover the country's international image. The measures will also bring stability to its society and benefit its economy."


Philippine Star (Manila-based daily)

"The nation mourns with the families of the fatalities from Hong Kong. Beyond mourning, the Philippines must show to Hong Kong and the rest of the world that decisive steps are being undertaken to prevent a repeat of the tragedy ... According to reports, about 250,000 Hong Kong residents visit the Philippines every year. We can kiss that figure goodbye, at least for the next six months."

Philippine News (Filipino online newspaper)

"The Philippines has received a black eye from this crisis, and deservedly so. If this turns into a whitewash then the country will fall further behind the rest of the civilized world. And not just foreign tourists, but even former Filipinos and expatriates living abroad will refuse to set foot in the country again."

Manila Times (Philippines daily newspaper)

"I am pretty sure many other broadcast journalists sensed that something was wrong about the live coverage of the ongoing hostage situation. Unfortunately, most of them got caught up in the frenzy of unfolding events and were unable to help calm things, much less themselves down. In fact, not a few viewers blame the live TV - as well as radio - coverage for agitating the hostage-taker."

Business World (financial daily)

"Should the media have been allowed to cover the incident the way they did? It was obvious that the cameramen and the reporters were getting in the way of police operations. The only good thing about that TV coverage is that it will serve as a manual on how not to handle a hostage crisis."

"Forget tourism in the country - not after the Philippines has earned a big black eye, not only in Hong Kong but in the world, after the bungling by police authorities of the hostage situation that left eight persons dead. Maybe government can also forget foreign investments, with the perception strengthened that Manila is a most dangerous place, not just for tourists and expats, but also for business."

Daily Inquirer (privately-owned daily)

"Such turbulent events as the hostage-taking are unwanted. They scare investors away. The administration of President Aquino now finds itself in a precarious political and economic condition, not unlike that of Cory Aquino when the government was shocked by the 1989 coup."