• Congressman calls for tit for tat in visa row with Hong Kong

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    A congressman on Friday urged the Aquino administration to impose the same visa restrictions on Hong Kong officials the Chinese special administrative region imposed on Philippine officials and diplomats.

    Rep. Winston Castelo of Quezon City said the decision of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to impose visa requirements on Philippine official and diplomatic passport holders was regrettable.

    Hong Kong rescinded the no-visa privilege accorded to Philippine officials as it announced sanctions on the Philippine for refusing to apologize for the 2010 Manila hostage crisis.

    In a statement, Castelo supported President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s refusal to apologize for the incident where killed eight Hong Kong tourists were killed by a dismissed policeman.

    Castelo urged the President to develop domestic tourism to replace Hong Kong as a tourist destination.

    “We could foresee the government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region extending the same sanction to ordinary Filipino citizens, or non-diplomatic passport holders,” Castelo said.

    The Department of Tourism must develop a media campaign to drumbeat the country’s has tourist spots that rival foreign destinations, particularly Hong Kong.

    Castelo said cities like Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro and Bacolod could be developed as alternatives to Hong Kong.

    “The issue on domestic tourism is cost,” Castelo said. “The moment our tourism officials have come out with programs that would lead to lower expenditure we could encourage our local people to patronize domestic tourist destinations.”

    Castelo said supporting domestic tourism is a subtle way of showing displeasure at Hong Kong’s decision to impose visa restrictions.

    “We don’t know yet their plan about extending the sanction to our ordinary citizens, but we should come out with our retaliation,” Castelo said.

    “We should be one or two steps ahead of Hong Kong,” he said.

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    6 Comments

    1. I definitely agree on developing more our domestic tourism which will benefit the Filipinos and promote job creation. Indeed, the government should be two steps ahead and make plan B should the restriction includes tourist visa and non-governmental visa which I think will happen because it has been suggested. Or like the congress sad tit for tat and also demand for apology for the maltreatment of Filipino workers in that place and the transgression over west philippine sea. We have been too kind and it’s about time to show some dignity.

    2. Castelo perhaps didn’t know there are much many more philippines official passport holders visiting Hong Kong for recreation than vice versa. These visitors have so much money scammed from the people to spend & shop in Hong Kong. For them, it’s easier to shop there than in the crowdy dirty divisoria.

    3. congressman your proposals are easier said than done. think deeper. don’t think like pnoy. dahil nasabi na niya na di siya a-apologize ayaw na niya bawiin. ugaling kabaklahan yan

    4. cge gawin nyo kung sa tingin nyo mas madali yan kay sa mag apology. Huwag nyong idanay ang buong Pilipinas sa kalokohan nyo.

    5. Domestic tourism is equal to the cost of going to Hongkong! Sometimes it is even cheaper to go to Hongkong than from Manila to Palawan! I would however advice that it is a lot better to go domestic touring than Hongkong because of the boorish behavior of Hongkongites not only to RP tourist but also to most shoppers!