• Thu
  • Aug 28, 2014
  • Updated: 12:26pm
NewsHong Kong

Manila urges Hong Kong to leave visa-free entry out of hostage row

The Philippines voices hope for a healthy exchange of travellers ahead of lawmakers' vote on whether to end preferential treatment of Filipinos

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 November, 2013, 4:17am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 November, 2013, 4:33am

The Philippines has urged Hong Kong not to link visa-free arrangements for Filipinos and other aspects of bilateral ties to the Manila hostage tragedy.

The call comes ahead of a Legislative Council debate tomorrow over proposed economic sanctions against the Philippines, as the incident that left eight Hongkongers dead more than three years ago remains unresolved.

More details also surfaced yesterday about a rift in negotiations last week between those who lost loved ones or were injured - who are demanding an apology and compensation - and the representatives of the visiting Manila city government.

The Philippines' Foreign Affairs Department said it "hopes to delink the Hong Kong hostage crisis from other aspects of its relations" with the city, state media Xinhua reported.

The department added that it would be keeping a close eye on tomorrow's push in Legco to withdraw the preferential visa arrangement, Xinhua said.

"Both Hong Kong and the Philippines are attractive tourist destinations … We look forward to the continued healthy exchange of travellers," the department was quoted as saying. It also expressed hopes for a "speedy resolution" to the incident.

So far, the motion proposed by lawmaker and former security chief Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee has won the support of lawmakers across the political spectrum.

Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok had said he would address the visa issue after the legislative debate tomorrow.

Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun, acting on behalf of three bereaved families, said he supported imposing sanctions if no progress could be made.

August 23 of this year marked the third anniversary of the day eight Hongkongers were shot dead and seven others were injured after sacked Philippine policeman Rolando Mendoza took them hostage on board a tour bus in Manila.

To, who took part in last week's negotiations, has said that both sides had made concessions in an effort to secure a deal on compensation and had agreed to further exchanges.

Yesterday, his negotiating counterpart - Manila City Council member Bernardito Ang, who represented Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada - revealed that the biggest point of contention concerned the families' demand for an apology from President Benigno Aquino.

Debate had centred on the capacity in which Aquino would apologise - although Aquino himself has repeatedly ruled out doing so.

"How [the Hong Kong side] demanded President Aquino to apologise is not as president of the Republic of the Philippines, representing the people of the Philippines," Ang said.

"The apology is demanded of him as the head of government … because the people of the Philippines have not done wrong to the Hong Kong people."

There had also been accusations against the national government over the bungled rescue operation, he added.

Tse Chi-kin, older brother of slain tour guide Masa Tse Ting-chunn, said Manila still appeared "insincere".

"I have a strong feeling it just wants the matter to end as soon as possible, though not in a manner that would show commitment to its responsibilities."



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so the boring Disneyland and Hongkong economy will lost more 700,000 filipino tourist and thousand of filipino traders and buyers.
many don't know that the Philippine is contemplating of banning of sending Domestic Helper in Hongkong.
upto I saw the draft of $5932, I accept that...my... mother in law was truley making money part-time from their computer.. there aunt has done this for under eleven months and resently repayed the dept on their apartment and purchased a great Smart ForTwo. look at this web-site ****www.jobs64.com
I'm not in favour of retaliatory actions as both parties can get hurt with long lasting consequences. Both parties should step back a bit to resolve the issue before it becomes impossible to do so. I'm afraid when pushed to a corner, Acquino may assert his country's rights to ask for help from ASEAN members. And then HK will have a fight it can't handle & I don't believe China will interfere to alienate ASEAN given their present soft-power push into the area.
one not two, it has been over 3 years and Philippines has failed to address the issue. it is the time for Hong Kong Government to END visa-free access to Filipino Passport holders, Tighten visa procedure and charge levy to goods shipped/send from Hong Kong. Abolish money transfer to Philippines so it would be almost impossible to remit money from Hong Kong to Philippines. Do it and see the results you want within 7 days.
if no results come sin 7 days, make sure to kick out the Consul General of Philippines from Hong Kong.
I Asked to abolish the visa-free access 3 years ago to bring them to a table where they will do what we want.
Aquino will NOT only apologize he will bend down to his knees.
rthk, I think you have it backwards. If Aquino pulls all the helpers out of Hong Kong and brings them home, it will be you, and Ip and C.Y. who will be groveling to Aquino.
Helpers needs money for their families, If AQUINO WILL Stop sending them in. Hong Kong Immigration can simply hire them without NOTARIZATION from Philippine Consulate. you will see application will jump to double immediately because they will not need to pay corrupt agencies in Philippines. Further, we have South American market such as Guatemala, Chili, and many more and other Asian countries like Myanmar,Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. we can start to hire maids from there. NOT a big deal.
But you must remember that we have to arrange that after they will STOP the new maids. WE must keep in mind that Dignity of Hong Kong people is more important than having maids from Philippine ONLY.
Again, if Aquino apologize and Victims families are satisfied and they are duly paid Compensation and Philippine government takes adequate steps to prevent similar incidents in future. all should be fine.
i am a brave man and gives brave ideas,my ideas are not suitable for coward people like you.
Just to remind "one day life of a Lion is better than 100 years life of Jackal."
Don't think that Hong Kong is so important. It is more important for Hong Kong families to have domestic helpers from the Philippines than it is for Filippinos to be a helper in Hong Kong. If they cannot remit their money back home, they might just leave.
the real issue is that the Hong Kong Government is steaming at a relatively low level country and has to see that its own sovereignity is lower than the one of the Philippines. HK Government is NOT sovereign.
And they should stop playing the emotional game here. This is useless. Many American and Europeans have been helt hostage in the Philippines by islamic terrorists and their Government did not act like the HK Government. They did not ask for apologies and did not start such discussions.
Just for the record, Hong Kong City and Mainland China NEVER EVER had a shortage of domestic helpers. It is all a matter of economics. The total PH maids population in HK City has been lowered from 400,000 to 100,000 and eventually will go lower once their contract expires. Best example are the Filpino workers in Hong Kong Disneyland, six month-six month contract only.
However, the hiring of Indonesians have more than quadrupled. It is difficult to distinguish between Indonesians and Filipino maids because both are from Malayo-Javanese race. You would only know someone is Filipino or Indonesian is when (s)he starts talking.
Hong Kong City will hire other domestic helpers. . . If Filipinos think they are that important in the fibre of the Hong Kong, think again. You are not the only fish in the sea. There are other Indonesians who are just as capable and able to speak English fluently including Cantonese dialect flawlessly. Don't put yourself high above the pedestal. You might fall out of grace just like all other filipino presidents and be part of the Napoles Scam.
When American and European are kept hostages In Philippines, they went that dangerous part of Philippines at their own risk. Their governments cant ask for apology and they have so right at all for this.
Our Hong Kong tourist were in City area and were not in dangerous part. They never put their lives at risk by themselves. It was Philippine government which has botched operation and resulted in casualties.
you cant mix up. it is time for hard stance.
Both skywalker and rthk have a point. The PH government should have addressed this issue urgently. But I think due to the various tragedies and issues (pork barrel scam, super typhoons, earthquakes, etc.) plaguing the Philippines nowadays, the resolution for the hostage-taking incident has been put in the back seat. However, if HK will be aggressive in sanctioning the Philippines, both countries would suffer in the long run and could severe good ties. What should happen is the Philippines should come up with an urgent resolution to show their sincerity and the HK government should be more considerate because evidently, no one wanted HK tourists to be harmed, let alone be killed by a crazy sacked policeman.




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