VICE President Jejomar Binay has expressed hope that the Hong Kong government will not drag thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in its visa sanction imposed against the Philippines.
In his own capacity as the Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns, Binay said he will reiterate his appeal to the Hong Kong government to reconsider its decision removing visa-free access for Philippine dignitaries and government officials.
“I hope not. That would be saddening, I tell you,” Binay told reporters in Dipolog City.
He lamented the fact that the decision was made in light of the Philippine government’s refusal to apologize for the Manila hostage crisis which killed eight Hong Kong tourists in 2010 and wounded seven others.
Binay made his first appeal to Hong Kong authorities a week ago upon receiving news of the declaration that starting February 5, Filipino officials and diplomats will no longer be able to enter Hongkong without visa.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had announced the “first phase of sanctions” against the Philippines, saying that the government would consider more in efforts to secure an apology from the Philippine government.
“It will definitely hurt our OFWs financially because they will need to pay for the visa. The payment will be deducted from the money they should be sending their families,” Binay said then.
The Vice President also hoped for an amicable settlement of the ongoing dispute.
“I also hope and pray that this matter will be resolved amicably,” he said.
Binay earlier supported the statement of President Benigno Aquino 3rd that there is no need to issue a formal apology.
“The President said the incident was a local, not a national issue. Hence, it is not necessary for the Philippine government to apologize,” he said.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO