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Monday, August 23, 2010

Quirino Grandstand Hostage: An Eye-Opener

One does not even need to be a policeman to see the mishandling by the police of the hostage crisis in Quirino Grandstand yesterday. Heck, a computer gamer or a movie buff perhaps could have handled the situation better than the so-called SWAT or negotiating team.



What the incident revealed is that (sad to say) our country's law enforcement is not ready to handle hostage situations like yesterday's. It's a shame. And to think, the victims were from Hongkong. We can expect bad consequences for our country tourism-wise especially of the recent arrests of some Filipinos caught carrying illegal drugs to and from Hongkong. (Ang laki na ng atraso natin sa Hongkong.)

It does not help that the hostage-taker was a former high-ranking police official. This is not helping the police's image at all. Allegations of torture, rubout and the like have plagued the local police force in recent times. Tsk tsk tsk. Some would even say the Philippine National Police should be called the "Pulpol na Pulis" or "Palpak na Pulis".

Nobody wants this for the police. There are some good men in the force. But what is evident though is the police lack equipment, proper training and preparation especially for crisis such as this. As I said, it would appear that those watching movies with hostage scenes or those playing Counterstrike and other similar games may even be "better-trained"!

Where is the media lockdown? Every move by the police can be seen by the hostage-taker in real-time.Where's the element of surprise therefore?

The crowd control? The flashbang? The equipment for intel? The intel itself? Nobody studied about what the bus had? The features? That the windows were not ordinary glass? That the bus had TV? That there were other ways to open that bus? That the SWAT team should move swiftly?

Why did the hostage-taker have access to other persons besides the negotiator? 

There was one time that the hostage-taker was by the bus door. Several news photos show this. The photographers had a clear shot. Opportunity also for a clear disabling shot by snipers with the hostages out of harms way. End of story. No fatalities.

But it had to end on a bloodbath.

Tear gas was everywhere but the assault team had no protective masks!

There was the "maso" but the window did not break at once. Few moments were wasted and with each attempt to break on the window and for each failed attempt to open the bus door, several lives were wasted.  One mother who survived the ordeal saw his husband being shot. She lost at least two of her children also in the tragedy.

In a day that could have been fun for them turned tragic.

I am sure this hostage drama will be featured in global television as one of the worst cases of hostage handling just like the hostage situation in one of the past Olympics. This may even end up in one of National Geographic's programs like "Seconds to Disaster" or something.

I feel for the victims and the families who lost their loved ones in this unfortunate incident. I do not blame the Hongkong authorities to be angry.

News reports have mentioned that as the hostage situation unfolded, Hongkong embassy officials were left in the dark since no police official was there to be with them and brief them of the situation. The officials had to rely on information from reporters.

The scene of the hostage was like a movie set. The events as they happen were like scenes from an suspense-thriller-action movie. It was a global box office hit...

I wished Lito Lapid could have done one of his stunts...jumped toward the bus making a somersault and firing a gun in mid-air with the bullet hitting a knife held on the other hand dividing the bullet into...one bullet hitting the hostage-taker's hand disarming him and the other bullet hitting the hostage-taker somewehere else to disable him.

As the smoke cleared, the "movie" ended. It was an ending like no other. Even bloodier than Kill Bill.

There was no Keanu Reeves or Bruce Willis to save the bus passengers.Some of the hostages lay down lifeless.

It turns out it's the police force who needs saving...

God help us.


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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

CIM 100% Passing in August 2010 Medical Board Exams

Out of the 40 who took the exam from Cebu Institute of Medicine (CIM), 40 passed! That's again 100% for CIM compared to the 69.43% national passing rate (1,597 out of 2,300).

Wow! As a medical teacher, it feels good! All the planning, facilitating, testing and mentoring bearing fruit
capped by a place in the top 7 of one examinee. Paul Vincent Co. Congrats also to the whole batch who took the board exams.

Below is the top 10 successful examinees:
  1. CHITRA DEEPAK PUNJABI UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS  - 89.42
  2. PERCY GUANZON BALDERIA UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES-MANILA  - 89.00
  3. NIKKI DOREEN SO ANGBUE TE UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS - 88.33
  4. GWENALYN GAIL CAPISTRANO GARCIA UNIVERSITY OF THE EAST RAMON MAGSAYSAY MEM MEDICAL CTR. 88.17
  5. JAMES PHILIP GARCES ESTEBAN UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES-MANILA - 87.92
  6. MICHAEL CONRAD LUZ TONGOL UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS - 87.83
  7. PAUL VINCENT TIO CO CEBU INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE - 87.75
  8. KAREN DE VILLA HERNANDEZ UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES-MANILA - 87.67
  9. KRISTIANNE EMMANUELLE RAYO BAGAOISAN UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS - 87.50
  10. ROZELLE JADE RAMIREZ JAVIER UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS - 87.42

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Superbug alert: The rise of bacteria with NDM-1 gene and chicken fox?

Before there was beta-lactamase. Then came ESBLs.

Now here comes the NDM-1 gene or the New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1.

This so-called NDM-1 gene was first identified last year in two types of bacteria -- Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli.

These bacteria with the NDM-1 gene are scary for they are resistant to carbapenems.

With air travel and the fact that this gene was found in plasmids which can be transferred from one bacteria to another, the bug has a potential to really spread.

For more about this development, read this.

On the lighter side, just this morning I read this from the sports section of a local newspaper. It's in the Cebuano dialect. It is taking about a basketball team with a player returning from "chicken fox".

"Ang Warriors, nga aduna nay walo ka mga magduduwa sa pagbalik ni Jun Cantonao gikan sa pagkasakit og chicken fox, nakakombati pa’g insakto sa nag-unang duha ka quarters."

See the word "chicken fox"?

Do not be scared. It's not a new bug that turns chicken to foxes although if it will be a name for a disease, it sounds more dreadful than chicken pox. Imagine? Having "chicken fox"? Better to have chicken pox than chicken fox, right?

Anyway, I think what the writer really wanted to write was "chicken pox" although it is not known if he really thought it was called "chicken fox".

Stay healthy everyone!

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