NEGROS Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said Tuesday the tourism industry of the country could be hurt by the hostage crisis at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta that killed eight tourists from Hongkong and the hostage taker.

Senior Police Officer Rolando Mendoza, the hostage taker, was killed inside the Hong Thai Bus but eight of his Hongkong national hostages also died in a hostage drama that lasted for more than 12 hours.

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“It's a pity that the incident happened,” Marañon lamented. 

“We're trying to sell our country as a tourist destination but how will the tourist come here with that situation?" he asked.

We should pray for discernment why a well-decorated police officer went to that extreme act of hostage taking, the governor mused.

"The whole Filipino nation should pray deeply and ask for guidance," Marañon added.

Negros Occidental is supposed to send a delegation to Japan to promote Negros as a tourist attraction but because of the hostage-taking tragedy, the plans are now being re-considered.

The hostage crisis was witnessed by the international community through the local media networks and through international news channels CNN and BBC.

Marañon also observed the tragedy exhibited how ill-equipped the police force is in terms of training and equipment in dealing such an emergency.

There should be a special unit that will be dispatched in similar situations, he stressed.

He noted that some policemen who responded at the crime scene were not even wearing bullet- proof vest and helmets. Moreover, the police were not able to control the crowd from flocking to the crime scene after the threat of the hostage-taker was neutralized.

Marañon disclosed that he will immediately discuss with Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office Director Manuel Felix about the readiness of the local police in dealing with such eventualities. (Teresa Ellera-Dulla)