• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 4:42am
NewsHong Kong

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.



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




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This article is now closed to comments

If the Philippine government scrapped visa free access to Hongkongers it would hurt them more than us. I'm sure that anyone who needs a visa could get one. For the rest of us we will probably consider taking our tourist dollars elsewhere.
Btw, is the travel insurance not covering those who were sadly injured and killed. I am not sure i have ever seen any mention of that dimension.
Depending if the victim's compensation demands are reasonable, the HK Govt should act for our people and bar visa's or halt any economic treaties with the Philippines. It's unfair for the good Philippines who want to just come here to work, but by doing so, they will understand that their own government was the cause of this.
And media hungry Regina so desperately wants to be CE in 2017... yet she offers childish foreign policy ideas like this.
It's also not about the 'cost of living', as even the survivors' relatives aren't thinking about the amount as much as the attitude, which I believe seems to be sincere as much as it could be from the current Manila politicians.
Not a comparable situation at all though, is it? Think about it.
ok - stop acting like a pope. speak your mind clearly.
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.
The only one looking at the dollar signs is greedy people like you (daily). These victims are not looking at putting a monetary value on their deceased relatives lives or their own injuries, they are trying to cover the cost of keeping a family minus one contributor. For those who were injured, I'm sure some of them have already spent more money on medical expenses than what the Philippine representatives are offering, not to even consider future expenses. Accepting $75000 USD would help defray the cost of the average Hong Kong family for a year or possible two for some families. It wouldn't be enough to pay the cost of raising a young family for 5 to ten years and then to help pay for university for your children. Accepting $75000 would be putting a price on your lost relative's life as it wouldn't be compensation for lost salary but a payment for a life.
So what is it that these people want. An apology or compensation?
If an American tourist is killed in HK, how much would our government pay?
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.



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