• Wed
  • Jul 23, 2014
  • Updated: 10:47am
NewsHong Kong
DIPLOMACY

Manila to offer 'generous' payout over bus tragedy

But latest effort to settle bus tragedy row fails to impress victims

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 February, 2014, 4:13am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 February, 2014, 4:13am

Manila hopes to settle the diplomatic rift between Manila and Hong Kong over the 2010 hostage bloodbath with a "generous" compensation payout, Philippine media reported yesterday.

But the initial reaction from survivors was one of fury that they were being offered money instead of an apology.

It comes just days after the city imposed its first sanction against a foreign state - cancelling visa-free arrangements for Philippine officials and diplomatic passport holders.

The news also coincides with a report in the mainland Southern Metropolis Daily in which Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said it was "regrettable" he had not been able to come to Hong Kong to offer a formal apology as promised, blaming pressure from Philippine President Benigno Aquino.

Foreign affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez was reported in Manila as saying the government hoped "the gesture of solidarity" would bring closure to the issue. He did not specify amounts.

"To put closure to this issue, we remain committed to extend additional and generous gestures of solidarity from the Filipino people," the Philippine Star reported Hernandez as saying.

"We hope that we will be allowed to do this at the soonest possible time."

Survivor Yik Siu-ling said it was unacceptable that Manila would attempt to settle the matter with money. "They should show some respect," she said. "People died, and it's not something that money can settle."

Yik, whose jaw was shattered in the gun rampage, said the Philippine authorities had not contacted her about the additional compensation. She received an undisclosed amount from the Philippines in November to cover the cost of reconstruction surgery in Taiwan.

Another survivor, Li Yick-biu, also rejected the idea of extra compensation. "They did a bad job, and they should shoulder responsibility by apologising."

Eight Hongkongers died in a botched rescue attempt after a former policeman hijacked their bus in Manila in August 2010 to demand his reinstatement.

Survivors and victims' relatives said an apology from Estrada last August was insincere.

Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun, who is helping the families, said the money matter had already been settled, and the only thing that was lacking was an apology.

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Jenny.ywu@gmail.com
Please think from the victims' families' point of view and not from their nationalities. All of us have families, it is not what money can buy.
mercedes2233
But think: what can an apology buy, if it is forced and insincere?
oxymoron14.
@******
Since the Filipinos can't bring the loved ones back from the dead, the next best thing is money. It is the families that demand compensation and I bet whatever undisclosed amount the Filipinos added to their pockets it must be huge. Hate, Grief, Denial, Acceptance and whatever steps from the AA program must come to an end and everyone should let the dead go in peace and leave the media alone because HK people are quite fed up with the ongoing bickering over some egotistic justice that ain't going to happen. Forget apologies and have a big heart: forgive and move on.
mercedes2233
This matter has gone on for long enough. This recent offer appears to be as far as the Philippines Govt will go, and is not unreasonable. I hope the victims and families of victims will accept this compensation and pursue the apology no more. There is just so much that you can press out of another, and I think many HK people will run out of sympathy for the victims if this saga is continued.
daily
Well said, and I for one have lost my sympathy for the HK survivors. That Yik lady should not even dare to speak because if it wasn't for the Philippine government offering her some form of compensation earlier, she would not have the money to go to Taiwan to fix her jaw. If you are willing to accept some form of compensation, don't expect them to apologize also. There is only so much you can press out of another party whether or not they have wronged.
The HK survivors are kind of hypocrites............if you offer them an apology, they would expect money. If you offer them money, then they will expect an apology also.........This case is history and if the HK survivors are offered money, they should take it because HK people, in general would prefer to take money instead of an apology. They are just too proud to say it out.............
pangkf
Would the families of the victims be kind enough to give the Hongkongers a rest on this incident!! I hate the Philippines Government. But shall we focus on something important rather than an apology.
oxymoron14.
If this was America I would certainly believe an apology may have been more important than compensation because of its deep rooted ideology in equality especially in the justice system. But HK?? People are brought up in a system comprised of go-getters and paradigm focused on success measured by wealth.
-
My point being, don't push the envelope over the edge. I'm sure what the Phillipines have offered in monetary compensation is more than what the victims have initially wanted and this fight is not about the victims anymore, but the bureaucrats who are looking for a way to save face and walk away from this fiasco without being called weak.
nicolas
If they insist of asking for a formal apology from the Philippines president. Then, Xi Jinping should also make a formal apology to the Indonesian maid who suffered a brutal abuses from her Hongkong employer. Due to the incompetent HKSAR government in handling such matter and it happened in several cases before
mercedes2233
Be fair. The HK police did everything it could as soon as it could. Since the victim did not report to the police, how would it know? There were some cases of worker abuse, but there were also cases of workers being arrested for doctoring the family soup and theft, etc. How can such behaviour be due to Government 'incompetence'? Did you want the Govt. to act as Big Brother all the time, and control our behaviors? Certainly we wouldn't want that!
The Philippines Govt did NOT do all it could when the hostage situation happened. It sent away an offer for the elite squad to help, the Deputy Mayor went out for lunch despite the crisis, it refused the shooter's request to be given back his job, and brought his brother to the scene which greatly upset the man, etc. That is why it is directly responsible for the tragedy to our citizens.
ejmciii
Give the apology, offer no money and limit the apology to assure that no one can use it to sue the Philippine government. Problem solved. The victims get an apology as they say they are not in this for the money. The Philippine government admits a mistake its police made. Then we can get away from this whole saga.

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