Malacanang said on Thursday the Philippine government will not apologize for the 2010 hostage crisis in Manila, but the families of the victims from Hong Kong received a “reasonable” compensation.
Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras said the Philippine panel gave the families a copy of the letter signed by Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima.
The letter expressed the Philippine government’s “most sorrowful regret and profound sympathy” for the pain and suffering of the victims and their families, Almendras said.
“We have satisfied what the families were asking for without having to use that word,” he said, referring to “apology.”
Almendras said Purisima also explained what action the police took, and what went wrong.
“To some families it was very important,” he added.
While Manila and Hong Kong have come to an agreement on the incident, they are still working on the individual concerns of the families those who were killed and injured in the incident, Almendras said.
“We’ve settled with the Hong Kong government. That issue is done. That is why the Hong Kong government has lifted all the sanctions. But now we are addressing the individual concerns of the families,” Almendras said.
He admitted that not all families will accept “tokens of solidarity” for a number of reasons. “They weren’t looking for an amount,” he said, explaining that families were looking for other forms of closure.
Asked if the families signed quitclaims over the hostage crisis, Almendras said some sort of arrangement was reached.
“Once and for all, completely, absolutely, this is over,” he said.
The Philippines and Hong Kong earlier agreed to resolve their differences over the hostage tragedy. Hong Kong chief executive C.Y. Leung announced the travel sanctions against the Philippines, including a visa arrangement for holders of official passports, would be lifted.
Almendras said Leung thanked President Aquino and called him a “man of his word.”
The Hong Kong leader also looks forward to “shaking the hands” of the Philippine president during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit later this year, he added.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE