Hostage incident won't hurt tourism sector: Philippine official

19:33, August 23, 2010      

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A Philippine official said Monday the hostage-taking incident involving a busload of tourists in Manila will not hurt the country's tourism industry.

"We believe that our countrymen, foreign investors and our friends in neighboring countries will see this entire incident in the proper perspective," Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said in a press briefing.

He said that the hostage taking is an "isolated incident that does not reflect the real situation of our country today."

Dismissed policeman Rolando Mendoza hijacked a tourist bus Monday morning. There were 25 passengers onboard, 21 of whom are tourists from Hong Kong, while the other four are Filipinos.

Police officials are negotiating with Mendoza, who is demanding that he be reinstated. Mendoza was dismissed from service for extortion and forcing a chef to swallow "shabu."

The hostage situation has been ongoing for about nine hours. The hostage taker has already freed nine hostages.

Coloma said the government has ordered local police "to put primary consideration to the lives and safety of the people involved, which are foreign tourists and that is exactly what they are trying to accomplish at the scene of the hostage taking."

Coloma also appealed to Mendoza not to put the hostages lives at risk.

"If he (Mendoza) has any grievances against the government, he should not get others involved, especially tourists," Coloma said.

Source:Xinhua

(Editor:黄蓓蓓)

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