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  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 10:39pm
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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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.
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 ?
It is sad what happened in the Philippines. But I can't help but feel the people of Hong Kong are being tricked and manipulated by the Hong Kong government. 8 people died 3 years ago. But it is clear the government is trying to milk the situation as much as possible to try and approve its popularity. Making big statements, demanding large sums and grandstanding about how insincere the Philippine government is.
Does this really help the families? Their misery has been dragged out for 3 years daily. People die all the time in Hong Kong. I am sure someone died while I write this. We can not dwell so much on deaths 3 years ago. It is not good for the families and it is not good for Hong Kong.
It's a bit challenging for a poor person to buy a house on the Peak for a Peak dweller, even though in essence this is what Regina and yourself are expecting the bankrupt Manila gov't to do for the victims.
I was in a car accident over 2 years ago in Hong Kong where a person died, but he was an illegal from China. His family didn't get a cent, even though another driver was at fault. My family didn't receive anything either even though we almost died and our car totalled. And the driver at fault - all he was charged with was overloading and fined 2,000HK. This government (and Regina as a sidekick) is full of hypocrites.
I am just curious what is the global norm on this issue of intentional or accidental killings.
Intentional cases: Did the British pay those who they killed during their colonial ugly history (a long one in fact)?
Accidental cases: How about "unexpected damage" to the civilians by the US drone attacks - do those people get compensated? Just asking for information.
I saw live on TV how bad was the SWAT team in handing the case. I condemn them. But if the team was deployed from Manila, it is hard to push for apology from Philippine vs Manila. Similar argument if NYPD did a terrible job causing similar tragedy, you can sue NY city but very hard to get apology from Obama. As each city has its own jurisdiction.
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
It is ridiculous for these Filipino representatives to throw such a card on the table. Compensation isn't paying for a life, it is meant to help families who have lost breadwinners or wage earners to maintain a decent standard of living and to be able to, for example have some savings for their children's education or their own retirement.
The difference in the cost of living between Hong Kong and the Philippines is significant. And the compensation expected by the family of a Filipino soldier would not make up the difference in the cost of raising a family in Hong Kong.
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.
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.
Should HK government also not pay something to the victim families? I am sure they did something for the Star Ferry victims (or did they not)?
(PS: I am all for compensation. But, we should keep the mind open about sources rather than trying to make it about the PH govt.)
This Ang is only making his comments for consumption back in his homeland. A life is a life and its meaningless to compare the life of a soldier to that of a tourist. Placing a monetary amount on the deceased, whether Chinese or Filipino, is downright disrespectful.
Furthermore, if what TO says is true, then why did this guy disclose details of their talks?
I had hoped for a positive outcome but it does seem the Aquino government and the Filipino press cannot be trusted. Aquino not only snubbed our CE, He also wrongly stated that CY had agreed to put the issue behind them. Later Aquino claimed our premier never talked to him on this issue.
With such roguish tactics I would not blame the government if it proposes sanctions against the Philippines. It seems increasingly clear that they are worried about the compensation amount as it is not exactly a wealthy country/province. So hit them where it hurts most. That could be the way to deal with a rogue.
Why can't HK government chip in a bit or maybe a lot more to help the victims to put the issue behind.
A little context is in order methinks. Perhaps you should put yourself in the families' shoes before you make such an asinine remark.
"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.
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.
“No Peace without Justice, No Justice without Forgiveness.”
(Pope John Paul II, after 9/11)
To find peace: Love your enemies.
Best regards,
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?
Do not be fool. That is not a bankrupt (maybe morally and ethically) country. This a country who is going to spend over 900 Billion United States Dollars to buy 12 training fighters (FA50) and two figates. Can you buy a house on the Peak if you are bankrupt?
all these drama can be summed up with one word : greed.
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.
One more way for thieves to feather their nests. How HK.
A country who can afford to throw away US$464 billion for the purchase of 12 FA50 fighters (they are training fighters) from South Korea; and can afford to buy 2 frigates at US$437 billion (monies that can use to create jobs and help the poor of the Philippines) cannot be classify as a poor country.
I think your government would pay a compensation according to the standard living of America .. sorry im not good in english
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.
u need to get your facts right carmeledwin. USD 900 bio is 3.5x Phils gdp.
The figure for the 12 jets are usd 450m.


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