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  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 1:46am
NewsHong Kong

Estrada apology too late, say Manila bus siege survivors

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 August, 2013, 1:38pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 August, 2013, 12:32pm

Survivors of the Manila bus tragedy have rejected an apology from the new mayor of the city for the shootings that left eight Hongkongers dead and vowed to press ahead with legal action.

Yik Siu-ling, whose lower jaw was shattered by a bullet, said Joseph Estrada's apology was insincere.

It has been three years and the Manila government has not done anything to compensate us
Yik Siu-ling, Manila bus tragedy survivor

"It has been three years and the Manila government has not done anything to compensate us," she said.

Estrada, a former president who took office in June, first mentioned he may apologise in an interview with SCMP's Post Magazine in July, and did so while speaking with Cable News. It was the first apology from the country since the shootings three years ago.

Survivors and relatives of victims have given the Philippine government until Friday to meet their demands - an apology, compensation, punishment for the officials responsible and improved tourist safety. If these are not met, they intend to sue the Philippine government in a Hong Kong court.

Estrada said: "On behalf of the people of Manila, as the mayor, I want to say we are sorry for the incident, for what happened to the victims. We are sorry for that."

He said similar incidents would "never happen again" under his leadership, but cited legal reasons for not being able to promise compensation.

The Taiwanese government won an apology from Manila three months after a Taiwanese fisherman was shot dead by the Philippine coastguard. But Estrada, overthrown as president 12 years ago in a popular uprising, said the cases were different.

"The president is the commander, the chief of our military, the navy, the marines. That's why he apologised for it," Estrada said. "The police is under the directorship of the mayor."

Last year Aquino said he saw no reason to apologise but admitted the hostage crisis could have been handled better.

Estrada said he would have apologised sooner if he had been mayor when the tragedy happened.

A sacked policeman shot dead seven Hong Kong tourists and their guide on a hijacked bus before being shot dead in a bungled rescue in Manila's Rizal Park.

"As a mayor of the city, you should be on top of all this. You should direct everything. But unfortunately my predecessor [Alfredo Lim] didn't do that," Estrada said. "I would [have taken] full responsibility … I [would have apologised] because that was my fault."

Yik was also unconvinced by Estrada's explanation for why the president would not apologise.

"In both the Taiwan and hostage cases, it's people who represent the government who are at fault," she said.

Tse Chi-kin, whose younger brother, Masa Tse Ting-chunn, was killed, said: "It's inappropriate that a new guy just comes out and says he's sorry. We insist on our four demands."

He said an appropriate apology would at least require a formal letter, as in the Taiwan case.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor renewed the government's pledge to follow Manila's response to the families' and survivors' demands.



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This article is now closed to comments

Well Mr. Estrada, it's easy to make such statements afterwards and when not having been in the driver's seat at the time. Can we take you to your word “I would [have taken] full responsibility if that thing had happened......" and expect you to resign in such situation ? Because that would be the right thing to do.
Judging from your actions during your presidentship it wouldn't be very likely, would it ?
A little late isn't it?
How about an apology from Hong Kong's local TV stations who by floodlighting and broadcasting this incident stressed the killer even more and eventually triggered him into starting his killing spree.
This was a media circus ending in tragedy and the press should shoulder part of the blame for the mis-handling of this incident.
I will maintain my own travel ban to the Philippines. I refuse to go to that country again as a direct result of their deplorable, despicable, pathetic, and insulting handling of this tragedy.
Yes, please stay away. There are enough indigenous Chinese crooks here already.
I concur with liukuei. I continue to maintain my personal ban on going to the Philippines due to the atrocious handling of this tragedy...RIP to the 7 HKers, u will not be forgotten~
You cant blame journalists and reporters for carrying out their duties. I agree that the floodlights may have stressed the killer to some extent but it is up to the Manila policemen to judge whether to stop the floodlighting or commotion. Those involved in the rescue operation were amateurs and this is the main reason there were so many casualties.
The apology is late, no doubt about it but this is what they wanted as their priority so they should now focus on the compensation part. I shall never forget the scene where the Phillipine official(which I believe is Estrada's predecessor displayed anger at being probed on the incident. Innocent lives were lost yet he seemed to say people were blaming him needlessly. It is time for the Hong Kong Government to show its worth and do something for the families of the deceased and injured. It should free itself from the shacklwes of the former Tsang administration who were absolute softies in negotiating with the Phillipines Government. The only thing they did was to issue a black travel warning which means nothing to those families who may have lost their breadwinners. The bungled rescue attempt shows how incompetent that Government is. Now instead of trying to make things right all they want is economic benefits via the lifting of the black travel warning. Shame to them.
A President of a country is the leader of the country, and when wrong has been committed by member or members of that country towards member or members of another country, it should be the President who apologizes on behalf of his people. There are also no legal justification in not paying compensation to the victims.
Right.....it's all about the money after all.



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