Our sincerest condolences and prayers go out to the families of Hong Kong tourists who were killed in yesterday’s hostage taking situation at the Quirino Grandstand at the Rizal Park. And more prayers for the recovery of those tourists injured in the incident. Eight lives lost, and several injured in hospital, not to mention the trauma suffered by others, many of them young children, in what can only be described as a senseless and unnecessary act of a lone gunman. It was an incident that could have happened anywhere, but yesterday, it happened here. Our household watched for several hours yesterday afternoon and into the evening as television stations broadcast the horror unfolding. I cannot help but observe that it took our troops what seemed like an excruciatingly long amount of time to penetrate the bus and get inside, alternating between trying to break the windows, the doors, the emergency door, etc., sometimes losing their sledgehammers or axes into the windows and when in, beating a hasty retreat when fired upon. This went on for some 45 minutes until the gunman was finally shot and killed from outside. I realize there were complexities and complications that were not apparent, and one shouldn’t really criticize based on two cameras trained on the scene, but it certainly gave off the perception that we could possibly have been much better trained and equipped to handle this situation. And perhaps the whole thing should NOT have been televised. Of course we are grateful for the troops who put their lives at risk and participated in the assault, but still we are greatly saddened by the loss of innocent lives. The choice of red gladiolus flowers in the photo is because of several symbolic meanings, the long flat leaves akin to swords and piercing sorrows. Filipinos around the world condole with the families of the victims of this tragedy.