An interesting note from Hong Kong: the Chief Executive has threatened to increase sanctions against the Philippines if Manila fails to bring a “satisfactory conclusion” to the Manila bus hostage crisis which killed eight HK citizens in 2010. So far the extent of the sanctions has been to cancel the visa-free privilege of Filipino diplomats and government officials. Further travel sanctions could extend to the thousands of Philippine domestic workers – known as “helpers” in HK – who are relied upon to run homes for many HK families. Sanctions can also target a country’s economy, limiting business/trade and financial transactions.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Chun-Yin Leung on Tuesday warned of more sanctions against the Philippines if there will be no “satisfactory conclusion” to the Manila bus hostage crisis that killed eight Hong Kong tourists in 2010.
“I urge the Philippine government to demonstrate sincerity and resolve in bringing the discussion to a satisfactory conclusion so that we do not have to implement further sanctions,” Leung told a press conference in Hong Kong, a video of which was uploaded on Hong Kong’s government news site.
Relations have been strained between Manila and Hong Kong over President Benigno S. Aquino III’s refusal to issue a public apology for the deaths of the Hong Kong nationals.
It prompted Hong Kong to sanction the Philippines by cancelling the visa-free privilege of Filipino diplomats and government officials in January.
The Philippines called the move “unfortunate,” insisting that “a substantive closure” on the incident had already been arrived at three years ago with the previous Hong Kong government and the victims and their familieAn
Leung stressed the families of the victims “are not demanding and have never demanded, a personal apology from the Philippine president for the criminal act committed by an individual as some have alleged.”
He said “they are seeking an apology from the Philippine government for the failure and lapses of their officials in handling the rescue operation during which eight Hong Kong residents lost their lives and seven others sustained injuries.”
Further, the victims are demanding an apology consistent with the findings of the official investigation commission by the Philippine government, Leung said.
Nevertheless, Leung said Hong Kong remains open to negotiations with the Philippine government.
“The door to further discussions between the two sides remain open, and the ball is in the Philippine court,” he said.
Hong Kong, one of the key destinations of Filipino workers in Asia, hosts 163,000 Filipino domestic helpers. — Michaela del Callar/KBK, GMA News
Source: GMA News