Manila agrees to payout for Manila bus siege victim Yik Siu-ling
Survivor who needs cash for major jaw surgery is the first to receive compensation
Three years after the Manila hostage bloodbath, the Philippines has paid compensation to a victim.
It gave an undisclosed amount to Yik Siu-ling, who will have surgery costing HK$1 million in Taiwan next month. Yik lost two-thirds of her jaw when she was shot in the face by crazed gunman Rolando Mendoza as he killed eight people after hijacking a tour bus in August 2010.
The Hong Kong and Philippine governments said in a joint statement that President Benigno Aquino had instructed Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras to give the "additional token of solidarity" after hearing about Yik's urgent financial need.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer also reported that Almendras said in discussions at the Philippine consulate that Manila would announce in the next few days the "very concrete" steps it had taken to address the demands of the victims' families.
"The Philippines will prove that we are not insensitive to the plight of the victims or rude," he said, without ruling out a presidential apology.
On the donation to Yik, the Hong Kong and Philippine governments said the money, raised through donations by Filipino businessmen, was given "as a manifestation of the Filipinos' humane consideration of the plight of the victims and their families".
It came as Almendras met the director of the Chief Executive's Office, Edward Yau Tang-wah, for a second ministerial meeting on the hostage crisis yesterday.
Both governments said the donation would have no influence on the meetings, which are discussing demands of the victims' families. These include compensation, an official apology, punishment for responsible officials and tourist safety measures amid a threat of sanctions.
Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok also attended yesterday's meeting.
Commenting on the donation, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying declined to say if he would extend the one-month deadline, set on November 5, for "substantial progress" to be made for survivors and families of victims to be given compensation and a presidential apology.
"Today's progress set a good foundation for mutual talks to be continued," he said. "We hope to go on making substantive progress on other areas in a relatively short time as well."
Leung said he told Aquino about Yik on the sidelines of the Bali Apec summit last month.
Yik thanked the Philippine government for the donation. "I hope the central and the SAR government can continue to work hard and bring a reasonable resolution to the incident," Yik said.
Tse Chi-kin, whose younger brother, tour guide Masa Tse Ting-chunn, was killed in the bus siege, said: "Compared to the victims' families, the problems facing those injured were more urgent, so the donation is good for Yik and for a resolution of the whole incident."
Video: Philippine bus hostage-taking incident