• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 9:19pm
NewsHong Kong

Manila and victims of bus hostage tragedy inch closer to deal

All parties say they have 'narrowed their differences' in tense meeting despite emotive comment and leaks from Manila negotiator

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 November, 2013, 4:29am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 November, 2013, 11:39am

Manila and the victims of the 2010 bus hostage killings have inched closer to a possible compensation deal, said a joint statement issued by the government, the victims' representative and the Manila negotiator yesterday after their second meeting.

The joint statement came after Manila City Council member Bernardito Ang - who on Wednesday said the compensation amount demanded by the victims was too great - provocatively questioned whether a Hongkonger's life is worth more than that of a Filipino soldier.

"Today's discussions were … helpful to narrow the differences," the statement said, adding all parties had agreed to further exchanges over the four demands raised by the victims and family members as a package.

"This time, the gap [between the two parties] has been narrowed … and I am satisfied with the progress," said Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun after his meeting with Ang.

"[This] not only refers to the apology and compensation, but also the other demands raised by the victims, which include punishment of responsible officials and improved safety for tourists."

To said both parties had made concessions but a deal was yet to be struck, as he and Ang still needed to consult the victims and Manila, respectively.

But he refused to comment on whether victims had lowered their compensation demand.

"The amount isn't the most important thing … it is not the more the better. But it shouldn't be an amount that embarrasses people and must meet Hong Kong's [living] standard," he said.

To admitted the atmosphere of yesterday's talks was tense: "Both parties had resentment over the events of the past few days. We have to spend some time clarifying the misunderstandings before we [can] move on to substantial discussion."

Ang has been criticised for breaching a confidentiality agreement after he revealed to Cable TV details of the deal Manila planned to offer.

To said he and the victims were not happy that details had been aired on TV through Ang, while Ang himself suspected that the victims' camp had leaked information to other media.

To said the government should consider introducing sanctions - including Regina Ip Lau Shuk-yee's suggestion of ending visa-free access to Hong Kong for Filipinos - in order to press for a deal if there wasn't any progress after a month.

Ang left the central government office where the meeting took place about an hour after To, but refused to comment further on the negotiations.

Separately, a security bureau spokesman yesterday denied a Philippine TV station's report that the victims had already accepted Manila's apology.

Sacked policeman Rolando Mendoza hijacked a tour bus in Manila in August 2010, shooting dead seven tourists and their guide, all Hongkongers, before being killed in a bungled rescue.



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This article is now closed to comments

Let's hope this progresses to an amicable agreement.
Some bold steps from the Manila govt to put this to rest ... if HK Govt offered compensation to foreigners 10X what a HK policeman family receives for losing his life protecting us ... there will be many HK people that will object to this, you can include me.
Any apologies or compensation for the Filipina victim who died in Beijing attack?
We are fortunate to live in HK and not in the Philippines where incompetence are a regular occurrence ... Point is if the passengers were Filipinos they would fair far worst than being offered.
I think that Filipina's family should be compensated 3-4 years from now, and not more than US$75,000, for that is what the family of a soldier who died in the line of duty in the Philippines will get. After all, that was the standard they suggested.
Good suggestion ... most accidents causing death in Philippine are settled for less than HK$20K so a US$75K is very generous by Philippine standard ...
The two incidents are completely different. In Beijing many Chinese were killed and injured too. And it was a terrorist attack. Whereas in the Philipinnes, the rescue operation itself was the terrorist attack. As to whether there will be an apology or compensation to the Filipino victim, are you prepared to wait for 3 years or more to find out?
Apology is important for families of victims needed closure. BUT compensation is the main focus and the driving force of dispersing this group of die hard folks still gripping firmly on this issue- all in the name of justice.
Let's face it, if the amount is huge enough everyone will be satisfied. I'll go for broke that the talks between the 2 two parties are sugar coated with themes like "HK peoples feelings" or "Righteousness must be served" but the core issue is if whether the compensation is adequate. All in all, it's about money, Period. Throw in a brief PR speech from any Phillipine scapegoat Ambassordor and everything will slide. Now everyone is happy.
The government will save face, and the families are fed ( they are entitled to BTW).
Well, you can exclude me. I dont think there is a direct comparison. As long as a Government pays compensation in accordance with what led to an accident it doesnt matter whether the injured/deceased are locals or foreigners. Heck, if a slip from the government led to casualties to Filipinos I wouldnt object to paying them a huge compensation amount but I wouldnt link this to our own police force.
Like the Communist Government would ever apologize? Come on. They are the masters. Be realistic.


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