• Sun
  • Jul 13, 2014
  • Updated: 4:00am
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

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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55

This article is now closed to comments

kmarlaltomonte
"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" Wow, and preceding that with the Philippines being a third world country.
The recent typhoon is one of the biggest in the world in recent history, bigger than Hurricane Katrina. No living Filipino, or Hongkong citizen for that matter, has ever experienced anything like it. What's your justification for all the deaths and destruction in New Orleans?
Being a poorer nation makes life a struggle in this country, true, and true too that it's a sad reality. But the line that divides stating a fact and being spiteful, isn't thin. Surprised you missed it. And at a time when a nation mourns.
Not demanding an apology from mother nature for the typhoon.
tennisboy
Chan, Ip, Leung--political pornographic ménage a trois--Good one Alex!
Agree with your assessment--CY definitely made the wrong call on this one.
impala
I wonder if we will see the day that CY makes the right call on anything.
xiaoblueleaf
It seems HKers in these days have nothing better to do other than protest for sake of protest. As seen in the typhoon disaster that hit the Philippines killing hundreds, their incompetent government can't even take care of their own problems let alone HK whereas HK as a whole can show a little more compassion. Besides, HK is just a dot on the world map with no geopolitical power nor influence.
caractacus
Quite right, Alex. The double standards at play here are nauseating. The victims and their families are being used by others with ulterior motives.
tksiow
Don't just talk. Go ahead with the sanctions. In addition,make sure that Hong Kong citizens and PR are not allowed to visit the Phillippines.
dienw
Agree with the sentiments but it's "culminating", not "cumulating". Does no one edit these pieces? That's a laughable error.
fsk999
If this tragic fiasco had played out in Hong Kong with a disgruntled HK cop taking Filipino tourists hostage in a coach with a bundled rescue resulting in their deaths, a subsequent inquest and possible enquiry would have resulted in a swift apology by the CE.
However, it is impossible to imagine such a scenario in which local police are allowed to mishandle a serious, life threatening situation to which the hostage negotiator cadre and special duties unit are not swiftly summoned to take control and professionally resolve the situation without loss of innocent life.
johnyuan
I didn’t follow the tragedy from day one. I could be missing some important point that make my following points invalid.
.
An apology should be made from Philippine government (mayor or even the president). It was not a natural disastrous that had caused those Hong Kong tourists meeting their early death. It was an incompetent rescue work by government. The government should have the courage to apologize to all the casualties much earlier for the lack of protection of their guests in their care. The Philippine government should in addition to the delinquency of that apology to include another apology to Hong Kong for late giving an apology. It’s right humanly and diplomatically all around. It is wrong (no apology) for no reason.
.
Hong Kong may not have the diplomatic status; Central China should press for the apologies. I have confidence things will come to an equitable end.
.
It will not disappear until it is so because China will not be bullied too.
caractacus
I laugh when xenophobes / Chinese chauvinists like you adopt the double standard and paint China as the bullied victim, yet never see things the other way round.

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