MALACAÑANG on Thursday said it has no plans to “retaliate” by imposing sanctions on Hong Kong following the latter’s decision to require entry visa for traveling Philippine government officials and diplomats.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said retaliating will only exacerbate the already fluid relations with the former Crown colony.
“Our position is that we should focus instead on making steps to enhance trust and understanding,” he told reporters.
He dismissed suggestions to impose similar sanctions as a “retaliatory option,” stressing that it would do more harm than good and further fan the fire of discontent that arose from the government’s continued refusal to apologize for the death of eight Hong Kong tourists in the hostage-taking event in August 2010.
Coloma maintained that an apology is not an option.
“It is not only government that is involved here. The most important aspect with regard to the Quirino Grandstand incident is the affected families, whose kin either died or were injured. That is what we believe as our biggest consideration at present. To respond to the needs and concerns of the affected families,” he pointed out.
He said the Philippine government has clearly made this point in the articles of solidarity that was agreed upon by both countries in the past.
“We want the families to recover from this sad experience,” Coloma added.
At the same time, Coloma said they are keeping tabs of developments that may affect overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong.
“It is the government’s responsibility to ensure the welfare of our people, including ease of travel and employment opportunities,” the Palace official said.
“What is important is that we should be prepared for any eventuality.”