Philippines may meet with families of bus tragedy victims
The Philippine foreign secretary has pledged that his department will try to arrange a meeting between the country's top diplomat in Hong Kong and families of the victims of the Manila hostage crisis three years ago.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario made the vow to commerce minister Greg So Kam-leung on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum summit in Bali.
Seven Hong Kong tourists and their guide were killed and several others injured when a fired Manila policeman took them hostage at gunpoint aboard their tour bus in the Philippine capital. A bungled rescue in Manila's Rizal Park saw the gunman, Rolando Mendoza, shot dead by police.
The Philippine government has not until now been responsive to the demands of the victims' families and survivors for a formal apology and compensation or punishment for the officials responsible. They have rejected an apology from Manila's new mayor, Joseph Estrada, saying it was insincere.
So said yesterday he had reiterated the families' requests. "I also told him [del Rosario] that this is something that the people of Hong Kong care about quite dearly.
"At my urging, he indicated that he would try his best to contact his colleagues to arrange for this one-time meeting between the families of the victims and the consul general."
So said he hoped Manila would arrange such a meeting as soon as possible.
Tse Chi-kin, whose younger brother Masa Tse Ting-chunn was killed, said it was the first time since the tragedy that the Hong Kong government's efforts had actually achieved something. "But we need to see whom the Philippine government will send, whether it is someone whom we could really talk to or just a messenger."