• Sun
  • Oct 26, 2014
  • Updated: 1:05am
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

There was a Chinese girl recently killed by fire engine rushing to save life for a plane crash, the girl parent could only sue the city of California
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?
I think your government would pay a compensation according to the standard living of America .. sorry im not good in english
A little context is in order methinks. Perhaps you should put yourself in the families' shoes before you make such an asinine remark.
My point is that this case is still being dragged on after 3 years and the card being played to the HK public is that Aquino owes the victims an apology. Now all of a sudden they say the compensation is too low.
If this case is more about compensation, then why involve the central government?
Dear Regina Ip,
Why do you wish to make HK people's traveling to the Philippines more difficult ??
It's foreseeable that the Philippines will scrap the visa-free access for HK people if HK ends visa-free access for Filipinos to HK, isn't it ?
A pretty short-sighted attempt to gain popularity my dear lady.
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.
I believe more Filipino tourist are visiting Hongkong than the other way around due to black travel alert. So if the HK govt ends the visa-free access it is Hong Kong who will loose the tourist dollars than the Philippines.
"She wants the government to end visa-free access to the city for Filipinos in an attempt to press for an apology."
I say Filipinos should stop visiting Hong Kong now and start visiting other nearby Asian nations.
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.




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