• Fri
  • Nov 21, 2014
  • Updated: 11:03am
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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This article is now closed to comments

ssslmcs01
As much as I feel for the families who lost loved ones or who suffered injuries themslves I don't agree with the continued demand for an apology. It is right to seek generous compensation for lost wage earners or to pay for medical treatment etcetera but demanding an apology means it isn't an apology at all, it obviously isn't from the heart. Aquino has already made it clear that he's not sorry for what happened both for the bungled police operation and certainly not for the actions of the lone gunman. How sincere can anyone expect his/their apology to be?
Accept the compensation and use the lack of an apology as a lesson about what kind of person Aquino is.
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.
Stephan
Eventually they will accept the 'generous' offer, and will care less about an apoligy...The Chinese way of doing 'business'.
Dao-Phooy
Agree. Aquino is a pathetic man who can't improve the lives of his own countrymen and women.This issue of the apology is going nowhere. The survivors and the families of those killed are entitled to significant compensation for their trauma as the relevant authorities in the Philippines totally mishandled the whole situation. I don't know where the demand for an apology and the guarantee for safer travel came from but these two demands have always been unrealistic. What value would an insincere apology have?
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
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.
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.
ssslmcs01
To the best of my knowledge there were no Chinese involved in this incident. The people who were injured or murdered were all Hong Kong people if you paid attention to the news.
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.

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