Hostage Tragedy

Opinions Unlimited

by Atty. Tony(APA) Acyatan (Atty. APA – chairman of Acyatan & Co., CPAs-DFK International is president of PICPA in 1990 and ASEAN Federation of CPAs (1998-2000) and Accountancy Hall-of-Famer (2006).

VAGARIES:  Truly – life is filled with uncertainties.  More  so – political life.  In its early days,   the P-Noy Administration was enjoying extreme popularity and support – thanks to the slogan – “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap”. Then with just over 50 days in office – the hostage crisis in front of the Quirino grandstand – resulting in the death of a dismissed police officer and eight (or nine)  Hong Kong tourists, brought down the government’s initial gains.

Indeed – the failed negotiations and eventual carnage showed on global TV-media, that the RP police bungled their jobs.  That their arms and equipment were outdated and insufficient were seen by everyone via the latest technology.  The lack of training among the rescuers was evident.  The consequent outrage by millions of Chinese, more so from Hong Kong and Macau against the Filipino people was more than deserved!

BLAME, BLAME:  The main pre-occupation now of our government officials is to find likely scapegoats.  Since national interest was involved in the hostage taking, the negotiations should have been handled by those who are in the Top Management of government.  It turned out that Mayor Fred Lim and DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo were both in the area.  Had they been in that forefront, the results could have been positive.

There is a big stake in the on-going investigations.  Chinese tourists are now fearful of their lives and properties – and have decided to skip the Philippines as destination.  Hong Kong however must not over react.  If the Filipinos get unduly hurt – they can hit back.  Filipino tourists going to Hong Kong, Macau and China are probably twenty times more than their groups visiting the Philippines.  A “tit for tat” move will hurt them more!

AIRLINES:  That bloody incident has wrought havoc to the travel industry – especially among the airlines.  The cancellations and reduced bookings will probably last up to mid-November.  Thank God – the Christmas months, aside from being the season of hope and joy – will serve as balm for renewal of friendship, and thus effectively erase the sad memoirs of the hostage drama.

Hong Kong will certainly equally feel the pinch.  It takes “two to tango”. Filipino tourists have other destinations to consider – and the administrative region of “hotheads” will definitely take the loss.  Passenger traffic statistics – from Hong Kong to the Philippines and vice versa will show surely that neighborly disagreements will hurt the colony more than the Philippines.

PRUDENCE:  One of the administration’s key programs is Fiscal Prudence – meaning public expenditures will be optimized.  The move is geared to give higher budgets for infrastructures and social services.  The budgets being prepared for FY 2011 will be analyzed keeping in mind the priority projects of the P-Noy finance group even as fiscal restraints should be encouraged.

Many of the “white elephants” – or the government corporations that are continually losing or those whose functions are duplicative or are now unnecessary – should be phased out.  Savings from salaries and allowances in a restructured system can be shifted to more urgent budgetary requirements.  Certainly, the excessive allowances and perks of directors and consultants must be rationalized towards economy.

WISDOM:  Let the One who holds both the past and future be your Guide for the present.

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