Malacañang on Friday appealed to Filipinos in Hong Kong to remain calm amid the dispute arising from the 2010 Manila hostage crisis.
“Lets be calm,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told Filipino Workers in Hong Kong as he assured them that the government will protect their interests.
“Ang gobyerno po natin ay tuwirang nakikipag-ugnayan sa kanila. Habang patuloy po iyong pakikipag-ugnayan, patuloy rin po iyong focus na matama iyong ultimate objective [Our government continues to work with the Hong Kong government. While this is going on, we remain focused on achieving our ultimate objective],” Coloma said, referring to achieving a resolution to the hostage crisis.
The Philippine Consulate General is coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs to achieve this goal, he added.
The families of the victims of the hostage tragedy have been calling on President Benigno Aquino 3rd to apologize for the rescue attempt, as well as provide compensation for the families of those who died in the incident and also for those who were heavily injured and traumatized.
Although the Philippine government has already offered $75,000 for the families of the deceased and $150,000 to those injured, the families believe this is not enough.
The Palace official said that President Aquino and Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had agreed at the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meet in Indonesia to reach a mutually satisfactory closure.
“We are undertaking mutual efforts. We have a mutual agreement that stemmed from President Aquino and Chief Executive Leung’s face-to-face meeting. That is what our ongoing efforts are based on,” Coloma said
“We are very focused and we are determined to achieve the solution that are being mutually worked upon—that is our concern,” he added
Early Friday, a report published by the South China Morning Post said that lawmakers in Hong Kong have already voted to impose economic sanctions against the Philippines for President Aquino’s continuous refusal to apologize for the botched rescue attempt that caused the lives of eight Hong Kong tourists.
According to the report, the lawmakers also voted 41 to three, while seven abstained, in favor of former security chief Regina Ip Lai Suk-yee’s proposal to scrap the visa-free access for Filipinos.
Malacañang, however, maintained that the government is working “quietly” to find a resolution to the dispute arising from the 2010 Manila hostage crisis.
“Our position remains the same. Both sides are working quietly to address these concerns and reach a mutually satisfying conclusion,” Coloma added. CATHERINE S. VALENTE