The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Friday it is working “quietly” to resolve the row with Hong Kong arising from the 2010 Manila hostage crisis.
Raul Hernandez, Foreign Affairs spokesman, said in a text message the Philippine government “will continue to work quietly to achieve a result that is mutually satisfactory.”
Hernandez earlier said the incident must be “delinked” from the overall Philippine-Hong Kong relations.
“Both Hong Kong and the Philippines are attractive tourist destinations for Filipinos and Hong Kong residents, respectively. We look forward to the continued healthy exchange of travellers from both sides,” he had said amid a call from Hong Kong lawmakers to scrap the Filipinos’ visa-free access to China’s special administrative region.
A report published by the South China Morning Post early on Friday said that lawmakers in Hong Kong have voted to impose economic sanctions against the Philippines because of President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s continued refusal to apologize for the botched rescue attempt that killed eight Hong Kong tourists.
The newspapers reported that the lawmakers voted 41 to three, with seven abstentions, in favor of a proposal by former security chief Regina Ip Lai Suk-yee to do away with the visa-free access for Filipinos.
After the visa-free access was scrapped, an amendment to impose restrictions on Filipina maids in Hong Kong was withdrawn.
On August 23, 2010, a dismissed police officer, Rolando Mendoza, seized a bus full of visiting Hong Kongers and demanded that he be reinstated.
Police surrounded the bus while negotiators talked to Mendoza.
The standoff came to a bloody end when Mendoza began shooting everyone inside the bus.
Eight people were killed and the hostage-taker was taken down by police SWAT team.
The families of the victims in the incident have been pressing President Aquino to apologize and provide compensation.
The Philippine government offered $75,000 to the families of those killed and $150,000 to those injured, but their families rejected it as not enough.
They also want the people responsible for the rescue attempt to be held accountable.
The issue has strained Philippines and Hong Kong ties and could impact on the 160,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong, mostly working as domestic helpers.
In 2012, trade between the two countries reached $8.2 billion.