Apology-A A +A
At Close Range
Thursday, August 25, 2011
DUMBFOUNDED I was, and still am, by the news reports that the President of the land, Benigno Aquino III, has expressed only regrets and by no means an apology, for the very tragic Quirino grandstand massacre incident last year where eight Hong Kong tourists were killed, some probably by the crossfire ignited by a misguided and cashiered police official and the so-called rescuing team of police officers who miserably bungled the rescue.
Does giving or asking for an apology to the Hong Kong government or the families of the victims diminish the stature of the President?
PNoy was quoted as saying that he cannot issue an apology for the offense of one man, then police captain Rolando Mendoza. The naive President believes the sin of Mendoza is not the fault of the whole nation, including its chief executive, ergo; he can only go as far as expressing regrets over the sorry incident which had caused irreparable damage to our national identity, tourism, trade and even overseas employment. But former and the late Captain Mendoza was a Filipino and a deceased police officer at that.
Now, our OFWs in Hong Kong are feeling the backlash of hatred and anger of not only the families of the victims but also almost all the Hong Kong residents.
An apology, given with deep sincerity appeases angry minds. I now recall a Supreme Court decision, which I paraphrase thus: the sharp incision caused by the offense can only be assuaged by the balm of clear conscience or words to that effect. Regrets, I argue, are not enough to pacify bereaved families.
Indeed, why not give the Philippine apology to the families of the victims of that embarrassing Quirino grandstand massacre involving innocent tourists who only wanted to enjoy the sights?
Hard to say I'm sorry? Mahirap bang mag sorry sa pamilya ng mga napatay na turista ng Hong Kong?
Are we an arrogant and conceited nation, exemplified by no less than its president?
It pays to remember that biblical quote: He who exults himself shall be humbled; he who humbles himself shall be exulted.
Conceit, therefore, does not elicit praise, humility does.
The grief of the families of the victims is understandably deep as the cause of death is senseless and unprovoked. Yet, because the rescue was bungled by very inexperienced team members, we have become the laughingstock of the world. And now we find it difficult to express apology? Wala naman sigurong mababawas sa pagkatao natin kung humingi tayo ng tapat na pagpapaumanhin sa mga naulila ng mga namatay na turista.
In the meantime, the travel ban imposed by Hong Kong authorities for their residents stands and all because of the stupidity of that former police officer and the bungling rescue team! Imagine the damage wrought by such blunder but lo, no one seems to claim responsibility for the massacre.
The demands of the families of the victims are not that hard to comply with or satisfy: first, the public apology, next, reasonable compensation and then punishment for all those responsible for the big blunder. Do we need to witness another massacre involving foreign tourists to waken us up and teach us to express apology with ease?
I would prefer a brave man saying I'm sorry than a lame duck executive hiding behind rhetoric to hide his cowardice. As a result of our adamant gesture of not expressing our apology, the brunt of the backlash is being felt by our workers based in Hong Kong who are now subject to various indignities by residents there. How long would our OFWs bear the onslaught of hatred and anger of the Hong Kong natives?
In the civilized League of Nations, protocol requires dignified exchange of pleasantries and sympathies. In our case, we tend to be aloof when the scenario favors our cause and, arrogant when the tide is against us. We co-exist and survive along with others and not only by ourselves. This, our national leaders should learn and imbibe in.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 26, 2011.