PH-HK resolve Manila hostage crisis issue

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The Philippines and Hong Kong have finally resolved their difference over the 2010 hostage tragedy in Manila.

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This was announced by Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Wednesday, a day after the former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and other government officials, arrived in Hong Kong.

“[Cabinet] Secretary Rene Almendras confirmed that the relationship between the Philippines and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is now back to normal,” Coloma told reporters in a press conference.

The victims and their families’ four demands for an apology, compensation, sanctions against responsible officials and individuals, and tourist safety measures, will be settled.

The Philippine government expressed its most sorrowful regret and profound sympathy over the incident, and extended its most sincere condolences for the pain and suffering of the victims and their families.

The Philippines’ Police Director General has written to all the victims or their families, and an additional token of solidarity will be given to them.

The Philippine government assured it will hold to account those responsible for the incident and keep Hong Kong officials informed of progress made in resolving the outstanding proceedings.

It also pledged to ensure that such an incident will not occur again.

“We join the Department of Foreign Affairs in acknowledging the statement of Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung on the complete and final resolution of the Quirino Grandstand incident of 23 August 2010 and the lifting of the sanctions,” Coloma said.

Quoting Almendras, he noted that Chief Executive Leung has issued a separate statement in which he thanked President Aquino and the Philippine government on this auspicious development.

“I have conveyed to the President the report of Secretary Almendras and he expressed satisfaction that final closure and a mutually satisfactory conclusion has been reached,” he added

Meanwhile, Coloma thanked Estrada “for his initiative that has contributed to the national government’s efforts to reach this desired outcome.”

CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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