• Thu
  • Aug 21, 2014
  • Updated: 2:06am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 November, 2013, 3:25am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 November, 2013, 2:51pm

Aquino apology call reaches fever pitch with Manila sanctions vote


Alex Lo is a senior writer at the South China Morning Post. He writes editorials and the daily “My Take” column on page 2. He also edits the weekly science and technology page in Sunday Morning Post.

Philippine president Benigno Aquino is right. He should not have to apologise for the hostage tragedy on behalf of his country. Hong Kong's self-righteousness and indignation has reached a feverish pitch, culminating with the passage of a non-binding Legislative Council motion for sanctions on Thursday.

The timing is far from ideal; it just exposes our callousness. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful ever recorded, slammed into the Philippines while our lawmakers deliberated in the air-con Legco chamber on sanctions.

It has set off landslides, caused blackouts in an entire province and cut communications in the country's central island provinces. At least four people have died but the death toll is expected to rise.

Albert Chan Wai-yip, a pan-democratic People Power lawmaker, launched the motion to impose sanctions against the Philippines unless Aquino cries uncle. The pro-establishment Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, our ex-security chief, helped with its passage by calling for an end to visa-free access for Philippine visitors to Hong Kong.

Jumping on the bandwagon, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said he supports sanctions. This is perhaps a negotiating tactic, but more likely a cynical ploy to halt his plummeting popularity.

Now that's a political ménage à trois you rarely see in this town. It is, indeed, some kind of political pornography. But if Leung thinks that would help salvage his dwindling public support, I say don't bother. He will get no credit if Aquino apologises, only the blame if he doesn't.

Over the decades, how many Philippine domestic helpers have been mistreated and abused - how many driven to suicide? Should Manila demand an apology and a victims' fund from Hong Kong?

Dr Rizalina Bunyi, 55, was one of the victims killed in the Tiananmen Square terrorist attack last week. Shouldn't Manila now demand a formal apology and compensation from Beijing? How many Hong Kong visitors have been injured or killed in accidents that could be attributed to official negligence on the mainland? Should Beijing apologise?

The families of the victims of the Manila killings deserve closure. But our belligerence will not achieve that for them, only make it worse.


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This article is now closed to comments

Can't agree more and it hurt all HK people's feelings when their President just laughed in front of the media when he was commenting on it
You HK and CHina is just a bunch of Criminal Drug Lords who bring the Methamphetamine Hydrochloride and Cocaine in the Philippines thats hwy you are rich country. Cowards! YOu cant even beat us in basketball..losers!
We can put a ball through a hoop. But we can't feed our own people. Good one Yow.yabut....you really should stop talking because it makes us all look bad.
You're the one making us look bad, Jihmbo.
Hahah, but we beat u in economy
I would also like inform everybody that an apology had been sent after the event and it was rejected by the government. The representative of the government was rudely rejected, humiliated and thrown out of the country. If they never recognize that an official apology was sent in the first place then they are not really looking for an apology, but a humiliated nation for the subject of bullying. I wont be surprised if the Mainland has something to do with this.
This HK move is obvioulsy nothing but an idiotic political move to please the supporters of those who fall victim in that Manila tragedy. Without regard to the likewise countless Filipino victims in HK due to crime or outright abuse by local employers. I agree with Pnoy. This country doesnt need to apologize. At most, if there should be one, then it should be mutual coming from both countries.
As for the sanctions they imposed agains the Philipinnes? These HK politicians are simply ...stupid.
it's high time we took the high road, set aside our differences and focus on helping those in need, hkers, have some perspectives plzzzzzzzzzz!! 10,000 people just died and on the rising... very sad indeed, retaliation never solves any problem, just escalate.
The Philippines, after all, is a third world country; it is a sad reality, but how can you blame a government that is unable to protect 10,000 of its own people from a foreseeable storm, let alone protect foreigners from an unforeseeable attack from a terrorist nutcase.




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