Lawmakers of all political colours are urging the government to take the opportunity of the Manila hostage bloodbath to clear away obstacles to Hong Kong's dealings with other countries in emergencies. They say the obstacles stem from Hong Kong's sub-sovereign status that limits its dealings in foreign affairs, and ways should be found to ensure swift and direct communication in future crises. They also want direct Hong Kong involvement in the Philippine inquiry into last week's tragedy in which eight Hongkongers were gunned down by a disgruntled former Manila policeman, who was himself killed. Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen phoned Philippine President Benigno Aquino in the afternoon of the day of the hostage-taking, but the president missed the call and did not respond until the next day. Responding to the appeals, made at a special Legislative Council meeting to discuss the bloodbath, the government said there was an established emergency mechanism that would be reviewed from time to time. Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said the government should revise its actions at the very beginning of emergencies. 'I understand we have rare sub-sovereign status, but no matter what, we cannot afford the obstacles placed by all those [diplomatic] protocols,' she said. 'I support Donald Tsang Yam-kuen for calling President Aquino, but we should make sure our government can reach other sovereign states earlier in any urgent cases in the future.' Civic Act-up lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan said international co-operation at critical moments should not be viewed as a foreign policy matter. 'We should establish a set of procedures, and confirm with nearby governments as soon as possible,' Ho said. 'Article 151 of the Basic Law states that we can develop relations with other sovereignties in many realms, including tourism. We should not be oversensitive in moving because of our ... status.' Ip Kwok-him, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said the government should draw reference from the travel emergency system set up by the central government for mainland residents. Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong (pictured) acknowledged the need for regular reviews of Hong Kong's emergency system, set up after the 2004 South Asian tsunami. 'The three-tier reaction mechanism has taken effect, but we will evaluate its effectiveness from time to time,' he said. Under the system, a task force comprising emergency services departments and a working group set up by the Security Bureau would handle the situation at the first two levels. At the third level - where the case is deemed a major incident involving widespread threat to life, property and security - a committee headed by the chief executive would take charge. Legislators passed a motion urging the government to strive to take part directly in the investigation conducted by the Philippine authorities. Lee said that although local police could not take a primary role in the investigation, the government would ensure the findings of the final report were based on solid evidence. Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, independent lawmaker and former secretary for security, urged the government to modify the current travel alert system by providing security information about popular tourism spots. 'The government can offer tourist-related crime counts in popular countries such as Thailand and the Philippines,' Ip said. 'Our police should also strengthen co-operation with overseas police forces for a more immediate reaction in incidents involving Hong Kong people.'