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  • Oct 25, 2014
  • Updated: 3:47am
NewsHong Kong

Filipinos set to snub Hong Kong after visa threat in Manila hostage row

Threat to scrap visa-free access to Hong Kong brings a swift response on social media, with many saying they will turn their backs on city

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 November, 2013, 6:01am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 November, 2013, 6:01am

Filipinos have reacted with bitterness to the decision by Hong Kong lawmakers to push for the scrapping of their visa-free trips to the city and are threatening to take their cash elsewhere.

Jim Paredes, a popular songwriter and performer, posted on Facebook: "OK Hong Kong, it's been nice knowing you. But you will miss us more than we will miss you."

And on Twitter, user @vita_bella88 said: "Dear HK, see if we care. You need us more than we need you. Thank us for your economy. Good riddance."

The comments came after Legco passed a non-binding motion last week to press the government to impose sanctions on Manila and cancel visa-free access for Filipinos.

It followed Manila's failure to meet the demands of survivors and the families of victims of the hostage crisis three years ago.

Eight Hongkongers were shot dead by sacked Manila police officer Rolando Mendoza and seven injured in the bus siege and botched rescue attempt.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had previously said he would impose sanctions if the Philippines failed to apologise and give compensation. The families and survivors also want to see the officials responsible punished and tourist safety improved in the Philippine capital.

But the lawmakers' call for sanctions has been met with sadness and resentment.

"It's time to move on from our HK obsession," Mavie Ungco posted on Facebook yesterday.

A young professional, she and her husband - a chef/restaurateur - have visited Hong Kong at least twice a year since 2009.

"We go there to shop, eat and unwind," she told the Sunday Morning Post. Ungco said that every time she and her family visited "we spend a considerable amount. We stay anywhere from three to five days. We call it the Land of Everyday Shopping". But she said a visa requirement would "definitely discourage" her family from visiting.

"We like to go to Hong Kong, but if they don't want our business we'll take it elsewhere."

Gabe Mercado, a performer and training consultant, said on Facebook: "While Hong Kong has always been the favourite short haul vacation destination for Filipinos, most of us will start looking at Singapore and Bangkok more seriously, now that there is this de facto ban on us."

Mercado posted Hong Kong Tourism Board figures showing that from January to September of this year there were 517,562 visitors from the Philippines.

He noted: "Assume that 100,000 more will come and visit between now and the end of the year and you have [about] 617,000 [visitors]."

He estimated that if every Filipino visitor spent an "extremely low average" of US$200, that would come to US$123.4 million.

He warned: "Tourist income could be in danger now that Filipinos will be needing visas."

Other reactions to the proposed visa requirement have been stronger. A Filipino with the account @crustedsauce tweeted: "Why dream about Hong Kong? It is an ugly place without civilisation and culture."

And a Facebook user, Ces Clemente-Ocampo, commented: "They just cut off their nose to spite their face. We will simply take our retail dollars elsewhere."


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This article is now closed to comments

To answer your question, no, you cannot say "It's not a family tradition to apologize on behalf of my problem kid!" You should, because those children are your responsibility. In this case, your citizens and lawmen are your responsibility. If we open our doors to tourism, we must abide by these common sense rules. If these were Americans, we'd be on our knees begging for forgiveness in humiliation.
All Mendoza wanted was his job back. Give him his job back. Then throw him in prison for breaking the law of taking hostages. Sorry, you have a criminal record, so even after you get out, you cannot work for law enforcement.
Noynoy does not want an inquiry into the whole ordeal. Nobody wants to find out all the dirty details of why he was dismissed in 2009 for extortion. It's humiliating and even more so if publicized on an International stage. The truth is, the whole of Philippines is corrupt. All the parties involved including the police, Noynoy and Lim are corrupt and this is simply a cover-up gone wrong. These idiot Filipinos give the rest of us a bad name and I'm ashamed of them. One cannot help but to ask, was 2013 and Yolanda in particular a message from God? You be the judge. All I know is it's hard for others to feel sorry for you if you constantly disrespect them for no reason.
broaden your horizons my dear
don't put yourself to shame, you just can't defend and be proud of your country
i guess that's shameful WiNK
You should be the one to broaden your horizon my dear.
You can be proud as a Filipino, but are you really proud of your government.
Face the ugly FACTS and don't pretend it never exist.
Super typhoon has just passed. Where are the government aids?
Are those aids really went to the typhoon victims or went to the personal bank accounts of politicians?
Why spend millions buying 2nd hand battleships but not to improve infrastructures to create more job opportunities and better living for the nation?
oh dear
stop complaining
do your part
and make the ugly facts as your strength
im proud of my recognitions from china and Poland as a Filipino
there are lots of jobs and opportunities my dear in our country, I got 3 jobs in a year in our country... STOP COMPLAINING, do your part WiNK SMiLeS
its on how you strive
I didnt know HK would also follow China strategic ways (e.g. sanctions, economic pressure) to get its demand.
I do think that the police incompetence/stupidity was the reason those tourist died and the request for apology and compensation is waranted.
But HK should not use tactics that would affect tourist/ordinary citizen from Phil or even other countries. Or maybe HK wants to get visa fee so indirectly, getting compesation as well.
The above article is also not conclusive and just an opinion of few. For those who often go to Hk for business, leisure, use it to as hub or transit to other countries, etc. will be the one affected of the inconvenience.
You don't need to get a visa if only stopping over. (i.e. hub/transit as you say)
It has been 3 years in the making. Sanctions didn't happen just over night, nor have they even started yet. Our "leader" has had a long time to do the right thing. Aquino is the one that involved us, not HK IMHO.
We claim that the Philippines is a dangerous place with dangerous people, and that travelers should know and accept the risk. If our people are so dangerous that they murder tourists with automatic rifles and smuggle drugs into HK thru the airport luggage (and get caught on a regular basis), then a visa system would surely make sense.
We can still goto HK, we just require a visa, which is simple. If we travel to China, a visa is also required. So what?
We should all ask Aquino: Why are you so stubborn and why does an apology, in your mind, a sign of weakness? Refusing what is ethically and morally correct is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of immaturity - something that the opposition have said about Aquino.
I am proud to be Filipino. I'm just ashamed that we have an incompetent leader and also ashamed that most of Filipino commenters here are do not show any class.
To the rest of the world: We're not all stupid and ignorant and arrogant. It's just that those that are are usually the loudest in our culture.
i meant was when transit or going for other destination, you can spend a day or two in HK. or even the same day, one can go out to do some shopping, meeting, etc then go elsewhere. i have done this many times so getting visa to HK means time consuming and money.
Like i say, i do not think it HK should come to these. An apology and compensation is reasonable request, be it done behind closed doors, doesnt matter.
It is not about a sign of weakness. It is about being responsible. Let say a visitor goes to your house, and you let them in. Let say your maid/driver/pets, etc. for unknown reason hurt your guest. As an owner, you still have to sort it out.
Both HK and Philippines benefits from each other. Those who says otherwise are just ignorant and narrow minded.
I think the President owes all the Filipino citizens an apology before he should consider apologizing to relatives of the bus victims. I am pretty sure there are sufficient funding for training and equipment of the SWAT team of the PNP. I wonder where the money has gone and resulting in an "international joke" broadcast worldwide?
By the way... above comments are not for those who think the SWAT had done a good job. Need not to comment if you are thinking that way.
Banning tourist isn't going to hurt either side much. HK can replace the tourist $$ and likewise, the Ph tourist can go to Bangkok or Singapore with their money. PAL will not go bust, at best some reduction in the profit margin. If HK politician is really serious about forcing the issue, they should follow Taiwan's example and ban all new visa for OFW and ban renewal of existing visa. Only than will the Ph government apologise. There again, how many members of HK Exco don't have a Philipino maid working for them?? Any of them openly declare they will not renew their maid's contract?? Talk is cheap.
This is only step 2. Banning OFWs is step 3. Use your brain.




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