Abel Cadias

We're so sorry

A sad and shocking day for all Filipinos

It was a shocking and sad day for all Filipinos on August 23, 2010. What started as a normal day became a bloody hostage crisis in the Philippines' capital city Manila. Nine innocent Hong Kong tourists were killed by a recently fired police officer who, was eventually shot and killed by a sniper himself. The killing could have been avoided if our police squad and SWAT teams were well-trained and well-equipped. But they were obviously not.

Millions of Filipinos, including me, were shocked at the poor handling of the hostage situation by our own security forces. It was an embarrassment to our capability to save lives. This we cannot deny.

This day has been a wake-up call to our struggling country - a nation that was once proud of its strong economy, education and wealth - but now ruled by the corrupt, the opportunist and the sinister.

We, Filipinos, are truly sad about this whole tragic incident. We know that our government cannot bail our country out from this despair and humiliation. Their apologies may not reach the entire Chinese nation but we continue to hope that our condolences might.

Millions of Filipinos, young and old are expressing their deepest sympathies to the bereaved families and to those affected by this tragic event. I hope that this sincere apology from a humble Filipino teacher in Thailand, along with the other thousand gestures of apologies from Filipinos worldwide, will reach the heart of every Chinese person.

Please allow me to share the letter from a young student in Samar, Philippines:

As you are reading this letter, I bet that you have seen or heard about what happened earlier in our country. A group of tourists was taken hostage by a policeman named Rolando Mendoza. After a few hours, some of the victims were dead and the hostage-taker too.

I wrote this letter not just to apologize but also to let everyone know that we Filipinos are not all like Mendoza. We are loving and good-hearted people.

For so many years, our country has been standing tall and overcoming every dilemma; be it small or big. Years ago (before I was born), you have watched us fight for what we think is right. We fought for the democracy of our nation.. The EDSA revolution. But that's just one out of many struggles.

Second, we Filipinos have been serving in other countries for the benefit of our families and we treat you as our own as well. With all due respect, I thank you all for giving us the trust through the years. For helping us to become what we are now. The Philippines is more than just a group of islands. We are a nation of strong and remarkable people. A country of beauty and love known to be hospitable and well-valued. I humbly apologize for what happened. No one in this world would want something like that to happen. Life should be valued.

I politely ask for the attention of the world. Please do not judge and mistreat us just because of what happened tonight. I have been searching the net and uncovered terrible words and accusations. Hong Kong has advised its people to avoid traveling here, China and HK has banned Filipinos and has called for The Philippines to be considered a no-go zone.

I can't blame you for what you have decided but I wish you could understand. Our country is now drowning in a sea of problems. And I know for sure that we have helped you in a way or another. Let peace and understanding reign at this time.

I know that this letter will just become trash but I beg you to understand. On behalf of the Philippine population.. WE ARE SORRY. As one song puts it...

"And I believe that in my life I will see an end to hopelessness, giving-up and suffering. And we all stand together this one time then no one will get left behind. Stand up for life. STAND UP FOR LOVE."

Sincerely yours,
Reigno Jose Dilao
Catbalogan City, Samar
(End of Letter)


I love this post because it shows humility. I have nothing against some Filipinos who refused to apologize and those who did. Although expressing our apology could not undo the tragic past at least we have shown our heartfelt sympathy to the victims. Saying sorry or expressing an apology is part of our culture. But I think the apology that we wanted to send to the Chinese people is not from the dictation of our culture but an inner feeling of grieving with the family of the victims. There was a crime-hate occurred and the only thing we can pacify the negative feelings is to vibrate our compassion to the victims with humility and sincerity.

And yeah, our government must stop stealing our taxes and start funding for equipments for the SWAT instead.

By Chemalyn.Zambrano, Bangkok, Thailand (21st September 2010)

The anger is not really about the deaths, but about why they happened when the police had many, many opportunities to stop the thing. The only conclusion anyone could draw is that the shooter wasn't shot simply because he was one of the (police)boys, and they cared more about one of their own than people who weren't. I don't want an apology. I want action. Find out why there was no action, and send the person responsible to jail. For a long time.

By Don, Phnom penh (15th September 2010)

Apologizing is one of the good characteristics of Filipinos but sometimes it is being overused too. I'ts just that we're so sorry because it happened in our country and the man responsible is Filipino. How tragic it was to be known our country as a killer country...since tragic happened continuously...massacre, hostage crisis and etc. Lets just pray for the soul of the victims to be rest in peace. Anything can happen anywhere,somewhere and even in the most peaceful country..

By tetay, thailand (9th September 2010)

I agree with Jas.The crisis grieves me and I sympathize with the family for their loss , but to apologize for something I didnt do--that I can't do. Accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. I am working in China, and people know that I am sad and angry to what happened in Manila , but what can I do? I never will apologize for the mistakes of a man--a stranger to me ,and who was out of his senses.


By tavs, (1st September 2010)


Apologizing for the misdeed of one of your country men was a class act. Thank you for being honorable. Judging by the responses from your fellow Filipinas, honor seems to be seriously lacking with them.

By the way Jas from Udon, I was living and teaching in South Korea when the Virginia Tech massacre happened. I can assure you that Koreans were both saddened and sorrowful. For days afterwards I would walk into the teacher's room to find the Korean teachers with their heads bowed in shame. And every newspaper in the country called it a national shame.

To feel saddened and to apologize for this tragedy in Manila is not just an honorable act, it is also expected from people who believe themselves to be compassionate, empathetic, and civilized.

By Steve Schertzer, Khon Kaen (30th August 2010)

Stop apologizing!
It's not your fault nor anyone else aside from the gunman himself. As Paul from Ireland pointed out, things like this happen nearly every year anywhere in the world. I never heard Koreans apologize for what the Virginia Tech gunman did a few years ago. While it is natural to be saddened be reminded that it is not I or you who did it...

By jas, udon (29th August 2010)

i have watched the whole scenario. almost 11 hours of holding breath and anger.

i respect your opinions. all are with a point or two.

i personally call on the philippine government to start anew. as ted failon always say: panahon na ng pagbabago. be stiff...be supportive...and for christ sake and ours, stop corruption...

i also call on our fellow filipinos, start anew...be supportive...be law abiding citizens, be a true filipino. panahon na ng pagbabago.

i call on all people aroung the globe, not to be judgemental. not to be swept by anger and one sided stories...it happens anywhere...

let us all do what is right...let us reap what is due to us.

By jinky, philippines (29th August 2010)

As a Filipino, I am not sorry. I understand that the act of that one lone gunman is unacceptable as well as the bumbling work of the MPD SWAT team. But hostage situations cannot be prevented, and it can happen anytime, anyplace, any country. We cannot stop death from happening, nor 100% prevent deaths from hostage situations. Everything happens because it happens... and because sh*t happens. Have we all Filipinos forgot the number of tortured and murdered OFWs from Hongkong? No. Because we don't make it a big deal and we are not cry babies. STOP APOLOGIZING.

By footangina, thailand (27th August 2010)

We're all saddened to what happened to that fateful day. My condolences to all the bereaved families.

Though, I agree with Miss Swan Princess.Some Chinese has maltreated a lot of Filipinos especially in HK.There were number of deaths caused by the so called maltreatments but we never heard from them showing remorse let alone apoligizing in public to the Filipinos.The Chinese people is definitely the pot calling the kettle black.

It was an isolated case and does not reflect the Filipinos as a whole.

By nadine, at the end of the rainbow (27th August 2010)

As a humble and peace-loving person, i don't blame the people of Hong Kong and all the Chinese people who in one way or another were affected in this very incident and expressing their outrage. That is very much understandable. My sincerest condolences to the bereaved family of the victims of this tragedy. Now, the concern that i would like to point out is the hatred of those in Hong Kong being pointed out to our fellow Filipinos working and living in HK. Peace may reign to everyone.

By scott vincent, from the mountains of Baguio City, Philippines (26th August 2010)

I think it is ridiculous to expect filipinos worldwide to apologise for the behaviour of one man! What happened is awful for the Philippines but remember there are shootings like this in America nearly every year and in lots of other countries. But that doesn't mean that people stop visiting them or start assuming that every American of Filipino is a crazy murderer!
It is ridiculous to classify the philippines as a no-go area because of one man. Only narow-mindedness would consider such a viewpoint!

By Paul, Ireland (26th August 2010)

With all due respect, Mr. Cadias, you need not write an apology on behalf of all of us. That hostage incident was an isolated case. It could have happened anywhere in the world. Yes, the police and the media screwed things up and some heads will surely roll but that's about it. Just because one crazed ex-cop went wild doesn't mean that the more than 90 million Filipinos are obliged to apologize for his deranged actions. Peace! :)

By swan princess, Philippines (26th August 2010)

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