• Sat
  • Nov 29, 2014
  • Updated: 5:48pm
NewsHong Kong

Philippine delegation to visit Hong Kong over 2010 hostage tragedy

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 April, 2014, 5:19am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 April, 2014, 11:57am

A Philippine presidential palace official will accompany Manila's mayor to Hong Kong next week in an attempt to resolve the 2010 hostage tragedy, marking the first visit by officials since Hong Kong imposed sanctions in February.

Joseph Estrada plans to extend an official apology as mayor, sources say. It is unclear whether Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras, President Benigno Aquino's senior aide, will do the same. Other city councillors are part of the delegation.

Estrada, a former president, will invite relatives and victims to Manila as guests of the city government for an August "prayer event", two separate sources say.

Manila councillor Bernardito Ang confirmed Estrada's trip to Hong Kong, saying a meeting between him, Hong Kong officials and relatives of the slain victims had been arranged by Almendras.

Estrada's spokesman, Diego Cagahastian, said: "[He] will have a meeting with Hong Kong officials. He will also have a meeting with a group of victims."

Both sources said the city of Manila, through Estrada, had already invited the victims and relatives to the prayer event.

"The relatives of the victims will arrive in Manila later on to conduct a prayer event at the Luneta," Cagahastian said, referring to the place where four years ago Rolando Mendoza hijacked a tour bus filled with Hong Kong tourists and demanded his reinstatement as a Manila policeman. Eight Hongkongers were killed in the ensuing bloodshed.

Ang said the city council had passed a resolution making August 9 this year "a day of prayers and mourning". He explained that August 23, when the bloodshed occurred, fell on July 14 in the Chinese lunar calendar, and this year it falls on August 9.

"So we are inviting them because we are asking the Buddhist monks all over metro Manila to pray for their souls," said Ang.

The Hong Kong government has cancelled visa-free access for Philippine diplomats and officials. Survivors and relatives want a formal apology, compensation, punishment of responsible officials and better tourist safety.

Ang said the exact date of the delegation's arrival - "between April 20 and 25" - was still being discussed.

The Hong Kong Security Bureau said: "We will report to the victims and their families as well as the public when substantive progress has been achieved."

Additional reporting by Phila Siu

Watch: Philippine bus hostage-taking incident


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This article is now closed to comments

regardless of how fuc*ed up estrada and his crew are.. i feel for the domestic helpers here. lets not forget the racism / discrimination / abuse they are subject to here and elsewhere in Asia (minimum wage of HK vs overseas workers). Modern day slavery is not something to celebrate!
What they could have said has already been said. I doubt the effectiveness of such a trip in reducing tension between the 2 places. On the contrary, I do worry that tensions will be flared again albeit unintentionally.
But the "modern day slaves" are willing to come to HK for minimum wage pay, do they? Nobody is forcing them to come and work for this wage.
BTW, in Singapore they get even less paid not to mention what they get paid in Dubai. They sign a employment contract and they can terminate the contract and leave whenever they want.
How About
What a wonderful selfie of the Manila Goodfellas!
A nice touch of the use of lunisolar calendar to designate the 2014 prayer day and the buddhist monks, better check what denomination the victims' family belong to and whether they prefer the gregorian calendar instead!
Will Noynoy Aquino be giving prayers at the proposed event?
I thought they were banned from travel to HK?
Time for them to spend some taxpayers money on a dim sum trip to HK, do a bit of shopping, boost their rating etc
Aren't these two separate issues? I think it is gracious of Estrada to take it upon himself to mollify the HK victims, when their president Aquino wouldn't. Has the matter almost worked itself out? Estrada's proposal might arouse everybody again.
Domestic helpers choose to go overseas. Those who face any kind of abuse should report to the police/ their embassies/ their support groups for assistance. Nobody condones slavery wherever it occurs.
Well, protocol-wise, this is the proper level of engagement. HK is not a nation, it is a city. Manila is not a nation, it is a city (well, a series of cities). Frankly, Erap's predecessor should have done this some time ago. So if this is about wanting an apology from the person in command and not about money then the issue should be resolved. Big "if." Let's see.
mercedes2233 says 'Nobody condones slavery'. Just because we deny that it happens doesn't mean it isn't real. Forced labour is widespread in Hong Kong. The authorities in Hong Kong haven't taken meaningful steps to end the practice. They make 'noises' about stopping abuse when it causes Hong Kong bad press in the international media, but such noises without meaningful action don't do anything to help victims.
They are willing because they are lied to. They are lied to in Indonesia by the agencies there who promise them good salaries and good working conditions. By the time the helper realizes the deception, it is impossible to leave because the agency illegally has their passport and they are in debt bondage.


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