Tuesday, August 31, 2010

LRT 2 - From Recto Station in Manila to Santolan Station in Marikina

The Manila Light Rail Transit System, popularly known as the LRT, is a metropolitan rail system serving the Metro Manila area in the Philippines. Although referred to as a light rail system because it originally used light rail vehicles, it has many characteristics of a rapid transit (metro) system, such as high passenger throughput and exclusive right-of-way. The LRT is operated by the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), a government-owned and controlled corporation under the authority of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC). Along with the Manila Metro Rail Transit System (MRT-3, also called the Blue Line), and the Philippine National Railways (PNR), the LRT is part of Metro Manila's rail transportation infrastructure known as the Strong Republic Transit System (SRTS).

LRT 2 - Recto Station

Other photos in and in the vicinity of LRT 2 Santolan Station.

Related story web link :

MRT Line 2 System - The Purple Line

Ligh Rail Transit Authority website

Manila Light Rail Transit System

Youtube Video :

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bloodbath in Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park, Manila - 23 August 2010


The Manila hostage crisis occurred when a dismissed Philippine National Police officer took over a tourist bus in front of the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park, Manila, Philippines on August 23, 2010. Rolando Mendoza (10 January 1955 – 23 August 2010), a disgruntled former senior inspector from the Manila Police District, took 25 people hostage in an attempt to get his job back.

After gunshots were heard on the bus, police launched an assault to rescue the hostages. Mendoza and eight Hong Kong residents died in the subsequent shootout.


The hostage taker was identified by the Philippine National Police (PNP) as Rolando Mendoza, a former high-ranking commissioned police officer,[3] who demanded to be reinstated with benefits to his previous post at the Manila Police District, from which he had been dismissed in 2009 amidst allegations of extortion.

Mendoza graduated with a degree in criminology, joined the police force as a patrolman, and rose to become senior inspector. He was decorated 17 times for bravery and honor. Colleagues at the Manila Police District said he was hard-working and kind.[6] On February 1986, Mendoza led a group of policemen that flagged down a van that turned out to be carrying 13 crates full of money, which former Philippine president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos was apparently trying to take out of the country. Mendoza and his team turned the shipment over to authorities. That year, Mendoza was awarded as one of the Ten Outstanding Policemen of the Philippines by Jaycees International.

Hotel chef Christian Kalaw alleged he was accosted by Mendoza and several other officers over a parking violation on April 9, 2008, when they planted sachets of methamphetamine in his car, forced him to take the drug, accused him of being a drug addict, and demanded he empty his automatic teller machine and hand over his money. Kalaw said the policemen released him after a friend raised 20,000 pesos. The Office of the Ombudsman found Mendoza and four others guilty of misconduct ordered Mendoza's dismissal from the service, and the voiding of all his benefits. Administrative charges against Mendoza were filed on April 25, 2008, after which he was relieved as Chief of the Mobile Patrol Unit. In August 2008, the Manila Prosecutors Office Eighth Division dismissed the case after Kalaw failed to attend the dismissal proceedings; the PNP Internal Affairs Service recommended the dismissal of the case on October 17, 2008, for the same reason. Mendoza's brother, Gregorio, said that all his brother wanted was a fair hearing by the Ombudsman, who "never even gave him a chance to defend himself; they immediately dismissed him."



The bus was taking on its passengers, Hong Kong tourists on a Hong Thai Travel Services tour, in front of Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park. They were to be taken to the Grand Lisboa casino. Mendoza followed the tourists onto the coach requesting a free ride. When his request was declined by the driver, Mendoza brandished a weapon, handcuffed the driver to the steering wheel and hijacked the coach.[8] Mendoza was carrying an M16 rifle. He demanded to be reinstated to his previous post with benefits,[3] saying he was framed. Manila mayor Alfredo Lim said he would grant Mendoza's wish to be reinstated if he could prove himself.

There were 21 Hong Kong holidaymakers, a bus driver, a Filipino tour guide, and Tse, the trip's Hong Kong tour guide, aboard the bus. Tse immediately alerted his employing agency in Hong Kong to the situation by telephone shortly after 10:30am. He was able to speak to the Assistant Customer services manager for two minutes, during which time Tse calmly informed her that his group was being held hostage.


Almost an hour later, six Hong Kong tourists (three children, a mother and an elderly couple) were freed by Mendoza. The freed hostages were taken to a police precinct in Rizal Park. The elderly woman was released from the bus first due to her age, followed by her husband. The woman was released along with her two children – a boy aged 10 and a girl aged 5. When she left, she asked to have the third child (a 12-year-old boy), released as well, lying to Mendoza by claiming to be related to the boy. Two Filipino photographers boarded the bus, volunteering to be taken hostage in exchange for the aforementioned releases.

By noon, four additional hostages (including the Filipino tour guide and the two photographers who volunteered to be taken hostage) were released by Mendoza, bringing the total to ten. TV5 news anchor Erwin Tulfo remained in permanent contact with Mendoza, with Superintendent Orlando Yebra and Chief Inspector Romeo Salvador leading negotiations. Seventeen more people remained on the bus. By this time, several news media were providing blow-by-blow coverage on cable news worldwide especially CNN, Channel News Asia, and Reuters. ABS-CBN 2, GMA-7, TV5 and NBN-4 were providing live coverage in Manila; TVB and Cable TV also provided live coverage in Hong Kong from noon onwards.

The Office of the Ombudsman disallowed Mendoza's request to be reinstated in the police, although they assured him that his case would be reviewed. Manila Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno delivered the letter from the Ombudsman to the hostage scene after sundown. However, Mendoza regarded the Ombudsman's decision as "garbage", stating the text did not answer his demands. Mayor Lim said on local radio that authorities had agreed to reinstate Mendoza to bring an end to the crisis, but had not been able to deliver the message due to bad traffic.

When the Manila Police District (MPD) SWAT team arrived, Mendoza declared on a radio interview on DZXL that he would kill the passengers and wanted the SWAT team to leave the area. His brother Gregorio Mendoza, a senior police officer, walked out after negotiating with his brother. He urged him to surrender peacefully and told his brother that "Nothing will happen here." Gregorio Mendoza was later arrested, the MPD stating that he was not asked to assist in the negotiations, and that he had breached the exclusion zone while carrying a gun. President Aquino later said that the gunman's brother contributed to the deterioration in the situation by fanning hatred against the negotiators.


As night fell, both sides grew increasingly impatient and wary over the prospect of a prolonged stalemate – no significant negotiation progress had been made. Mendoza was thought to have fired warning shots as he saw his brother and son being hauled away by the police. Mendoza claimed on live radio that he had killed two hostages. After Mendoza witnessed the arrest of his brother via the TV and radio on board the bus which was covered live by the media, he became distressed and ordered the police via radio to release his brother, or else he would start executing hostages.

The first shots were fired inside the bus at about 7:25 pm, and police mounted an assault on the bus at around 7:45 pm[9] Subsequent shots were fired at the rear of the cabin, producing several bullet holes, cracks and indents in the window towards the rear right of the bus; hostages were heard screaming. After an attempt was made to drive the coach away from the scene, police marksmen fired several rounds to deflate the tires. The driver, who was earlier reported to be handcuffed to the steering wheel, escaped after more shots were fired and told the police that all hostages on the tour bus were killed. He later admitted that his assumption was based on Mendoza firing sporadically at all the hostages.

In heavy rain, the MPD assaulted the bus. At 8:18 p.m., rapid fire was heard. The policemen broke some windows of the bus with sledgehammers and tried to enter the bus, but were repelled by gunfire. The attempt to board the coach lasted for about an hour. Thereafter, four tear gas canisters were thrown into the bus as police struggled to open the door. None of the policemen knew about the emergency door opener, which would had saved them time and effort. An attempt to break open the door using a tied rope attached to a police vehicle resulted in the rope being snapped. According to a female hostage by the surname of Leung who spoke to the media reporters after the crisis was over, Mendoza started shooting randomly at the hostages at around 8:00 p.m.[citation needed]

Mendoza died after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head. Police marksmen who had taken up positions around the bus earlier in the day claimed credit for shooting Mendoza. According to presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, four more hostages were confirmed dead; Interior and Local Government secretary Jesse Robredo said six hostages were confirmed alive and not seriously injured. The fate of the other hostages was unknown at the time. Two other people outside the bus, a 47-year-old TVB news crew engineer and a child bystander who was hit in the waist, were reportedly wounded by stray bullets.



Coach driver Alberto Lubang, who was supposedly handcuffed to the steering wheel, was seen escaping just as the situation deteriorated. Later, Mayor Alberto Lim said that his apparently friendliness towards the gunman, and the ease of which he got out of handcuffs led to suspicions that he was in fact the gunman's accomplice. Six hostages were taken to the Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center, where two were declared dead while four were declared stable; two hostages were taken to the Philippine General Hospital in nearby Ermita, Manila; the remaining seven hostages rescued from the final siege were taken to Manila Doctors Hospital. Another six hospitalised victims from the three hospitals, including the head tour guide Masa Tse from Hong Kong, were subsequently declared dead, bringing the total number of confirmed fatalities to eight with at least one person remaining in critical condition and one in serious condition. The six survivors had minor to substantial injuries and were put under medical observation. The survivor Mrs. Leung bemoaned at the length of time before the police stormed the bus.


The list of identified victims has been disclosed to the media. Among the eight fatalities are six individuals belonging to two families. While Mrs. Leung survived, her husband, and two daughters aged 14 and 21 years respectively, died; her son was seriously injured due to blunt force trauma to the head, and remains in critical condition

Please read more at the below web link :



Quirino Grandstand, Manila23rd August 2010

Youtube Videos of Bloodbath in Rizal Park


24th August 2010, the day after the bloodbath in Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park, Manila



Massacre in nation's heart: Timeline of Manila bus siege

(Updated 6:00 p.m., August 26, 2010) The day started with a group of Hong Kong tourists happily visiting historical Fort Santiago. It ended horrifically in Luneta, last seen on television in President Aquino's moment of ascendancy. GMANews.TV has constructed a timeline of the hostage drama that ended in massacre, not in some faraway province but in the heart of the nation.

The following chronology of events on August 23 is based on the live coverage of GMA News and Super Radyo DZBB, and reports from BusinessWorld and Malaya newspapers:

10:00 a.m. – A bus carrying 25 passengers, including tourists from Hong Kong and some Filipinos, leaves Fort Santiago in Intramuros to make its way for Manila Ocean Park. In Intramuros, dismissed Manila Police Mobile Patrol Unit chief Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza also boards the bus. Mendoza announces he is taking the 25 passengers hostage and stops the bus in front of Quirino Grandstand. Initial reports mistakenly identify the hostages as Korean nationals.

Before 11:37 a.m. - On QTV, Theresa Andrada reports that by this time two hostages have already been released.

12:01 p.m. - Negotiations are ongoing between Manila Police and the hostage-taker. At this point, three hostages have been released.

12:05 p.m. – Four more hostages are released, including three Chinese children.

Around 12:30 p.m. - Korean embassy officials confirm that there are no Korean nationals on the bus.

Before 2:00 p.m. - The hostage-taker releases an elderly man. By this time he has posted a message on the bus window that reads, "Big mistake to correct a big wrong decision."

2:05 p.m. - Mendoza posts a second message on the bus window that reads "Big deal will start after 3 p.m. today Mendoza."

2:18 p.m. - Mendoza posts a third message: "3 PM today deadlock" and releases one of the hostages, a young man.

Before 2:50 p.m. - By this time, food and gas have been delivered to the bus. Some of the hostages can still be seen peeking through the bus windows.

3:00 p.m. - Negotiators agree to refuel the bus as as Mendoza's 3 p.m. deadline passes. Mendoza's brother SPO4 Gregorio Mendoza talks to him on the phone and convinces him to extend his deadline. [Read: Ex-cop holds tourist bus passengers hostage in Manila]

3:28 p.m. - Mendoza posts a fourth message on the windows of the bus demanding for "media now."

4:00 p.m. - The hostaged tour group's Filipino photographer is the ninth hostage to be released.

4:43 p.m. - Police deliver a box of food to the hostages. [See Michael Fajatin's Flash report: Negotiations in Manila hostage-taking ongoing]

Around 5:00 p.m. - Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang tries to call Malacanang but is unable to reach President Noynoy Aquino.

6:00 p.m. -- The hostage-taker receives a letter from the Office of the Ombudsman promising a review of his case. [See video story: Ombudsman Gutierrez: We are not to blame for the bloody end of hostage-taking}

7:10 p.m. – Police arrest SPO4 Gregorio Mendoza after he becomes agitated. The hostage taker, who is monitoring the news on television, angrily tells an RMN anchor over the phone that he will start firing at the tourists if his brother is taken away. According to RMN, this is the last time Mendoza is heard on the air.

7:21 p.m. - Two shots, followed by several more, are heard from the bus. GMA reporter Emil Sumangil reports that snipers have fired at the wheels of the bus to immobilize the vehicle.

7:30 p.m. - The bus driver escapes, going straight to the mobile command of the National Capital Region Police Office and shouting that all the hostages had been killed.

7:37 p.m. - Members of a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team start to surround the bus. They use a sledge hammer to break down the door of the bus.

7:39 p.m. - Emil Sumangil reports that three more gunshots were fired from inside the bus.

7:40 p.m. - Two loud gunshots hit the outside of the bus.

7:41 p.m. - Two police mobile units approach the bus from the side.

7:45 p.m. - Mike Enriquez reports that the mobile units have moved to behind the bus and attempt to break the bus windows from behind.

7:51 p.m. - Police lob tear gas inside the bus.

8:04 p.m. - Another round of shots is heard, but it is unclear if it came from inside the bus.

8:10 p.m. - Police tug at the rope to pull the bus door open, but it snaps a few minutes later. One hostage could be seen slumped near the front door of the bus.

8:23 p.m. - Several rounds of automatic gunfire are heard. At this point, teargas smoke is seen coming from the windows of the bus. A bystander is hit by a stray bullet.

8:40 p.m. -Shots are fired again, though it is unclear whether they were coming from inside or outside the bus, which has been surrounded by police.

8:43 p.m. No longer ducking gunfire, police begin to approach the bus. They seem to be signaling to bystanders and media that the area has been secured. The lifeless body of the hostage-taker is seen hanging out the door of the bus. Michael Fajatin reports that snipers have shot and killed the hostage-taker.

8:45 p.m. Civilians, media, police, and ambulances begin to crowd around the bus.

8:47 p.m. - Police manage to open the rear emergency exit. No movement is seen inside the bus, but a light comes on. Police hesitate in entering the bus but eventually force their way in. Several hostages are seen walking out, while others are carried on stretchers and brought to waiting ambulances.

8:55 p.m.- One of the surviving hostages, a middle-aged woman dressed in white, cries hysterically as she is removed from the bus. Surviving hostages are taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.

Around 10:00 p.m. - The Hong Kong Security Bureau issues a black alert warning for the Philippines, advising its citizens to avoid any and all travel to the country. [Read:HK issues travel ban to RP after hostage crisis]
AUGUST 24, 2010

•President Aquino gives a press conference about the hostage crisis. [Read: President Aquino's statement on the Manila hostage crisis]

•President Aquino declares August 25, 2010 as a National Day of Mourning for the victims of the hostage-taking.

•Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi phones Albert Romulo to demand that the Philippine government investigate police handling of the hostage-taking. Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang also lashes out at the Philippine government's handling of the situation, calling it "disappointing."

AUGUST 25, 2010

•Two days after the hostage-crisis ends, Manila Police District (MPD) head Chief Superintendent Rodolfo Magtibay offers to go on leave from his post. Four team leaders of the Manila police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit are also relieved of their posts.

— Jerrie Abella/Pia Faustino/LBG/YA/HS, GMANews.TV


Related web link :

Hong Kong furious at Manila bloodbath.

Hong Kong falls silent for Manila victims

Aquino inauguration at Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park (same spot as the recent Bloodbath)

Related Youtube videos  :

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV


A parallel story of a Massacre which also involve Chinese and Filipinos.

Family of tourists killed by crazed man: A Filipino family, that is, in Beijing
Think about this.
Interesting contrast/parallels......

The known facts are these:

On August 19, 2005, Emmanuel "Bong" Madrigal, a Manila-based Filipino executive of the multinational Shell, was visiting Beijing on vacation with his wife Vivian, his daugher Regina Mia, and two younger daughters. That day, they rode a tourist bus to Tiananmen Square, the heart of the capitol.

Upon arriving at the square, Emmanuel Madrigal was the first to descend from the bus, followed by Vivian and Regina Mia. A Chinese man wielding a scythe--in some reports it was described as a sword--suddenly appeared out of nowhere and hacked Emmanuel across his torso. He died on the spot. The man also attacked and seriously wounded Vivian. He then slashed at and killed Regina Mia. By this time, bystanders were trying to subdue the man, and Vivian shouted to her two other daughters to get away and save themselves. Somehow the girls made their way back to the hotel. Vivian was brought to a Beijing hospital, where she died several days later of her injuries.

An Associated Press report still circulating on the internet states that the killer was Wang Gongzuo, 25, a farmer from eastern China's Jiangsu province. He was sentenced to death for the murder of the Madrigals and executed a few weeks later, in September. The AP report states: 'Wang's motive for killing the two is unclear. After the incident occurred the Beijing Morning Post reported that he had wanted to 'affect society using extreme actions,' but didn't elaborate."

Reflect on the parallels. A family of vacationers on a tourist bus: the Leungs and the Madrigals. A killer out to "affect society using extreme actions": Mendoza and Wang. A massacre in a public place of symbolic significance: The Quirino grandstand, where the presidential inauguration had been held just weeks before, and site of the civil society protests against the Marcos regime; and Tiananmen Square, since ancient times the symbol of the centralized power of the Chinese state, and site of the 1991 civil protests against the government.

In both incidents, the state failed miserably in protecting innocent tourists.

And there the parallels end.

President Aquino has apologized to the families of Mendoza’s victims and conveyed his sorrow to the people of Hongkong, Chief Executive Donald Tsang, and Ambassador Lin Jian Chao. The Philippine National Police acknowledge that they botched matters beyond comprehension. Philippine legislators, ahead of their Hongkong counterparts, called for a full investigation. Philippine media organizations are looking to their own culpability in the affair. And masses of ordinary Filipinos, on TV, radio, print, and the Internet, are expressing collective horror, remorse and pity over the terrible fate of the innocent tourists, and bow their heads in shame before the Hong Kong people's sorrow and anger.

That is how it should be, that is only right. But.

To this day, five years after it happened, there is no public record of any Chinese official acknowledging the tourist killings in Tiananmen Square and apologizing to the Madrigals, much less the Filipino people, for the murder of Emmanuel, Regina Mia and Vivian. Not a single expression of regret that the Chinese police failed in their duty to protect the lives of innocent tourists in the very heart of Beijing, in the symbolic center of a state that prides itself most of all for its ability to control and contain disorder. There was a total blackout on the part of the Chinese press, and, according to another news report, government censors quickly blocked many internet sites where Chinese users had begun to post comments about the killing. So we will likely never know what ordinary Chinese citizens had to say about about the incident. Maybe some of them were actually sorry for what happened.

The closest thing to expressed regret was in fact the final reported action of the killer Wang, who waived his right to appeal the sentence of execution, and got a bullet in the back of his head.

To add to the horror, it would appear that the Arroyo administration was complicit in the silence. No public statement was ever made by the Philippine government regarding the incident. Unlike in Hongkong, no flags were flown at half-mast in Manila, and no three-minute silence was observed to mark the deaths of the innocent Filipino tourists. No demand has ever been made by any Filipino official for an apology, and for an accounting.

A full investigation of the Quirino Grandstand killing is ongoing. But what of that other killing, also in August, five years ago in Tiananmen Square?