• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 2:09am
NewsHong Kong

Manila urges calm after sanctions vote

Spokesman says it will help Filipinos after call for retaliatory measures by HK lawmakers

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 November, 2013, 4:37am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 November, 2013, 6:22am

A top-level call for calm has been issued to the city's 160,000-strong Filipino community after Hong Kong's Legislative Council passed a motion calling for economic sanctions against the country over the Manila tour-bus hostage tragedy.

As a massive storm hammered their country, Herminio Coloma, a spokesman for the Presidential Palace, urged calm in the wake of Hong Kong lawmakers' backing of retaliatory measures against the Philippines over their response to the hostage tragedy in 2010 that left eight Hongkongers dead.

"We are calling on everyone to keep calm and they should not be perturbed because the government is ready to help them … We will continue to take all appropriate measures in order to protect their interests," Coloma said.

One of the non-binding motions passed by Legco on Thursday called for an end to visa-free access for Filipinos.

Coloma told ABS-CBN television in Manila that talks were under way between the Philippines and Hong Kong authorities to arrive at a "mutually satisfactory conclusion". He also said the high-level talks between President Benigno Aquino and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying last month in Bali demonstrated the desire of both sides to reach a proper conclusion.

It has also emerged that Manila mayor Joseph Estrada has postponed his trip to Hong Kong to deliver an apology on the city government's behalf. He had been due to arrive this month.

Victims' families have pressed for an official apology from the national government, and Leung vowed this week to impose sanctions unless "substantial progress" was made in talks on the issue by the end of this month.

Feliza Benitez, a Filipino domestic helper in Hong Kong, said there was "of course" a feeling of uncertainty among the city's Filipinos. "The president has to do something about it," she said.

And Chinese traders in the Philippines are lobbying Aquino to authorise an official to apologise to the victims on his behalf. "Chinese merchants now hope to explore a possibility of not requiring the president to apologise himself, but that he delegates the power to apologise on the Philippine government's behalf to some official," said financial services lawmaker Christopher Cheung Wah-fung, who is of Filipino Chinese descent.

Under Estrada's plan, most of the compensation would derive from these merchants, an idea that brought criticism in Hong Kong over why the government refused to contribute financially.

Tse Chi-kin, brother of slain tour guide Masa Tse Ting-chunn, said: "We know it is impossible for the president to apologise. But the national government as a whole does owe the Hong Kong public an explanation."

Additional reporting by Raissa Robles in Manila


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Some Facts
1. The Philippines already expressed its condolences to the families of the victim. They even declared August 25 as a National Day of Mourning as a sign of respect.
2. The Philippine government already offered a $75,000 compensation for EACH victim’s family. That is a LOT compared to the compensation received by a Filipino soldier or a policeman’s family if they are killed (which is only about $2,000)
3. Hongkong is only a city, the Philippines is a sovereign country. Thus, the head of Hongkong does not have the diplomatic right to directly call and make demands to the PRESIDENT of the Philippines as if they are equal. Let China do that.
4. In 2005, Mr. and Mrs Madrigal, filipino tourists, was hacked to death in Tianmen square in China in front of their children. Also In 2013, a Filipina doctor, also a tourist, was killed and her family injured when a burning vehicle driven by alleged chinese terrorists crashed into them.
Did China apologized ? Did they even offered compensation ? NO!
Why the double standard ? If China cant protect their tourists then why blame the Philippines for this isolated incident ?
5. Hongkong’s retaliation by punishing 100,000 innocent Filipino domestic helpers won’t solve anything. It’s nothing but bullying tactics aimed at the wrong targets.
And in the end it is all about MONEY!
is China going to apologize for the death of the Filipino tourist killed in Beijing Tian A Mien Square last week by a terrorist with a jeep??
Hong Kong starts to become the laughing stock of Asia. Just another Chinese s**t city, run by a red clown and a bunch of crooks. Nothing but limitless greed.
A few days ago I said to show the Filipinoes some humility the gods were still cosntantly sending quakes and hurricanes Philippines' way, sorry for the timing but not the contents. I do hope all under Haiyan's path are well in the Phillippines.
For a country so steeped in Catholicism as well as Islam, every Filipino ought to see something needs to be done by, or about the current Filipino administration, starting with this incident.
Whatever the outcome, everyone can be sure that the HK locals will eventually forgive but a lot of them will likely remember this for a long long time.


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