• Thu
  • Sep 18, 2014
  • Updated: 5:45pm
NewsHong Kong
MANILA BUS TRAGEDY

Manila offers US$75,000 for each dead victim of bus hostage tragedy

Compensation 10 times that paid to families of slain Filipino soliders, negotiator says

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 October, 2013, 4:24am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 October, 2013, 4:03pm

Is a Hongkonger's life worth more than that of a Filipino soldier? That was the provocative question asked yesterday by the Manila City Council member sent to negotiate a compensation deal for the victims of the 2010 hostage tragedy.

Bernardito Ang said that the council, under flamboyant mayor Joseph Estrada, was ready to pay US$75,000 to the families of the eight Hongkongers killed by gunman Rolando Mendoza.

Those seriously injured would receive double that sum - US$150,000 - while those with less serious injuries would get US$20,000 to US$25,000, Ang told Cable TV. By contrast, the family of a Philippine soldier slain in action gets the equivalent of HK$50,000 (US$6,449) - less than a tenth of the compensation for the dead Hongkongers, Ang said.

But Ang's comments came under fire from lawmakers and families of the victims.

Asked why Estrada was seeking help from Filipino businessmen, including members of its Chinese minority, to fund the compensation, Ang said: "Our government obviously has money but cannot openly say [why] we are compensating them so much.

"If a military soldier of ours dies while fighting for the country, [the family] currently gets HK$50,000. Hongkongers get US$75,000. Is that to say a Hongkonger's life is worth more?

"At first [we] were to give them a total of US$1 million, then I added in another HK$2 million so the total amount reaches HK$10 million. The representative said it was too little. Let Hong Kong citizens themselves decide on whether this is just."

Ang's comments demonstrated a lack of sincerity, said Tse Chi-kin, older brother of slain tour guide Masa Tse Ting-chunn.

"[The families and survivors] haven't even discussed things thoroughly, and he's already attacking us like this," he said.

Tse criticised Ang, who met the families on Tuesday, for revealing details of negotiations that were supposed to be private. He said the families were not seeking a specific sum but would take any amount "as long as the attitude is right", though survivors living with their injuries might be in a different situation.

Video: Philippine bus hotage-taking incident aired live on television

The Manila City or Philippine governments would have to take responsibility, Tse said, adding that he would not accept compensation paid in the name of Filipino-Chinese businessmen.

But Estrada, a former president who was elected Manila mayor in July, said yesterday that he had to seek external funding to pay the compensation, and insisted responsibility lay with the city government, not President Benigno Aquino, who has long refused to apologise for the tragedy or the botched rescue attempt.

"The city of Manila is bankrupt. We don't have the money. This is the reason," Estrada told Cable TV. "As long as we can give them the compensation [it doesn't matter] where it comes from. The president has nothing to do with what happened. This is the responsibility of the mayor, not the president."

Hong Kong lawmaker and former security chief Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said Ang's offer was "ridiculously low". The comparison with the compensation for a Filipino soldier was unfair, she added, because it failed to reflect Hong Kong's high cost of living.

She wants the government to end visa-free access to the city for Filipinos in an attempt to press for an apology.

Security chief Lai Tung-kwok refused to comment on Ang's remarks, citing a confidentiality agreement.

 

CASH OFFER

Compensation Manila government planned to offer

  • For families of each deceased: US$75,000
  • For the seriously injured: US$150,000
  • For the lightly injured: US$20,000 to US$25,000

SOURCE: MANILA COUNCILLOR BERNARDITO ANG

 

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37

This article is now closed to comments

chanaa
all these drama can be summed up with one word : greed.
johnrai7
To die in war for your country is an honour, its priceless. I would not expect even a dime.
But to kill innocent tourist or visitor deliberately by a fine man in his own nation is shame that cannot be covered. I hope the benefactors will agree as Philippines is no rich country. It should be respected for their effort.
johnyuan
To the family and the rest, please accept the offer.
.
It would be too undignified especially to the deceased for us to quiver. No human life can rightly be measured by money and attempt to do so is unconstructively meaningless here. But make sure the offer is made with apology for failing protecting visitors who were guests of the country.
.
May God intercepts and have the tragedy rests in everlasting peace.
ssslmcs01
You don't seem to get it, the compensation is to make up the balance of the cost of living that was lost when the breadwinner was killed. $75000 USD won't even come close.
As far as an apology goes, they can keep it as far as I'm concerned a forced apology is meaningless.
I guess in your mind the $75000 is the cost of a human life.
wailunscmp
Key points are missed in many of the discussions & news. 1. Victims should be paid from travel insurance based on HK living standards. 2. Legal claims can only be directed against the gunman & the Manila police for their gross incompetence and/or negligence. 3. There is no question of of winning damages or an official apology from the Philippines President or Government as neither were deliberately involved. It was a crime perpetrated by an individual & made worse by the local police. 4. Legal damages are always decided by the law & courts of the jurisdiction in which the incident occurred, & in this case, Manila, therefore, rightfully, the coompensation is always based on LOCAL conditions - e.g. average annual salary or cost of living. To argue that HK people should be compensated based on HK salaries or cost of living is unheard of but if the families are not satisfied, they can sue the Manila government in Manila. Why is HK not following the rule of law? 5. Mr. Ang's public disclusure is reasonable as this offer is of public interest. 6. HK people should not forget that if they are involved in a same situation in Mainland China, they are also compensated according to the local standard. Also, XJP will not apologise. 7. Aquino did not insult HK CE because he followed diplomatic protocol. The Head of any city in China cannot call the President of another country directly. Only Chinese Foreign Ministry can call on any foreign government or official. Ignorance or Arrogance ?
hars
“No Peace without Justice, No Justice without Forgiveness.”
(Pope John Paul II, after 9/11)
pragmatist
ok - stop acting like a pope. speak your mind clearly.
hars
@pragmatist:
To find peace: Love your enemies.
Best regards,
daily
The local HK "so-called" victims are typical greedy HK'rs at the very worse........the Manila side really has no legal obligation to offer any $$$ if they don't want to............whenever anyone travels, that is why they buy travel insurance to cover whatever is included in the policy.........simple as that......any other monetary compensation from the Manila side is more of sympathetic gesture and the victims should simply grateful that they are even offered this.
Now they consider the amount to be too "small" to their liking..........gees, just typical greedy HK'rs that still only see dollar signs even after losing their family members 3 years ago........such a sad culture.
tksiow
It is not whether the HK victims' families are greedy or not. The Phillipines is bankrupt and cannot afford compensation.Look at the thousands of these modern day "coolies" dying to slave in HK,Singapore and the Middle East with miserable pay.
The HK govt. just have to dock the Pinoy's annual income by 5% and use it as compensation as closure.

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