News / Asia

Hong Kong Calls for Philippines Travel Ban

FILE - A local policeman offers flowers to the victims of the Manila bus hostage crisis in 2010 at the Luneta Park in Manila on August 23, 2013.
FILE - A local policeman offers flowers to the victims of the Manila bus hostage crisis in 2010 at the Luneta Park in Manila on August 23, 2013.
Simone Orendain
A diplomatic controversy between the Philippines and Hong Kong is growing, after Hong Kong lawmakers approved a measure late Thursday night that would place visa restrictions on Philippine citizens. Hong Kong wants an official apology from Manila over a botched hostage rescue attempt three years ago that left eight Hong Kong nationals dead and wounded seven others.

To press Manila for concessions, the Hong Kong Legislative Council passed a measure that would revoke the ability of Philippine passport holders to go in and out of Hong Kong without a visa.

The Hong Kong Council also proposed a ban on work visas for Filipino domestic workers seeking new contracts starting in April. It also wants to limit the time that workers renewing their contracts can stay and do away with contract extensions.

Besides an official apology, lawmakers want Manila to give compensation to the victims and family members of those who were killed, penalize officials directly involved and put measures in place to guarantee tourists’ safety.

The Philippines has not made an apology.

Last month, President Benigno Aquino said that the act of one individual who was “probably mentally unstable at the time should not be construed as the act of the entire country.”

Philippine presidential spokesman Sonny Coloma reiterated in a regular briefing Friday “both sides are working quietly to address these concerns and reach a satisfactory conclusion.”

The administration is calling on citizens to keep their spirits up and not to worry because the government is working hard in their interest and for their welfare, he said.

This week, Beijing for the first time weighed in on the issue. A foreign ministry spokesman urged the Philippines to “earnestly respond” to Hong Kong’s demands.

In August 2010, a heavily armed former police officer hijacked a tour bus of Hong Kong nationals at a popular Manila park and demanded his job back. SWAT officers botched an ambush-style rescue attempt, when the disgruntled officer, Rolando Mendoza found out about it and fired shots that killed eight and wounded seven Hong Kong nationals. The saga was broadcast around the world.

Some victims and family members returned to Manila a year after the incident demanding an official apology from President Aquino. He did not offer one but instead reiterated messages of condolence and sympathy and said government was looking into compensation.

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by: d from: hk
November 14, 2013 3:08 AM
In the case of Taiwan, it was the Philippine coast guard that was responsible and made the error. They are under the military, under the national government.
In the case of the hostage crisis, it was a crazy criminal that committed the crime. Yes, the inept Manila police tried but failed and may even have contributed to the tragic outcome. But they are under the Manila city government, and the Manila city government through their local officials have apologized and offered amends. Why insist on the President of the country to do so? If you want to impose sanctions that's your opinion. But why take it out on Filipinos as a people? Why single out Filipinos legally and peacefully living and working in HK?

by: Marshal Bonifacio from: Utopia
November 11, 2013 9:51 AM
Mr. Jonathan Huang, well you can call that stupid, however, since you have opened that up maybe I can say this, China has been known for Opium, The Tiananmen Square killings, the territory grabbing, for copyright infringement, for copying illegally, for being rude, for being uncivilised, for being unhygienic, for being godless, I have stated this based on history and the attitudes of some CHinese tourists in the Philippines, TAKE NOTE: TOURISTS!!! by the way HK wouldn't be like it is today if it weren't for the British. So tell me who is stupid.

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
November 10, 2013 1:07 PM
So now Filipinos has issues with all Taiwan, mainland and hongkong! How stupid is that? How hard is a sincere apologize to be made? Stupid is the right word for them!

by: John
November 09, 2013 11:01 AM
Now that Phils was battered by Super Typhoon Haiyan, HK Legislative Council must have been happy...their measure adds salt to the wound.

by: susan solomon from: hongkong
November 09, 2013 3:43 AM
hongkong people are so unreasonable ,.

by: ian
November 08, 2013 7:26 PM
if an entire nation is to apologize for the act of a single person, hiw many times should HK govt apologize ti the PH for the abused OFW in HK?

by: Ryan from: Singapore
November 08, 2013 12:34 PM
In that case there will be a visa required to all filipino citizen and if that is final when will be implemented?

by: sir ed from: Bacoor, Cavite
November 08, 2013 11:30 AM
While Filipinos sympathize with the victims of this senseless tragedy, and would even agree that some form of reparations is in order, I think most of us stand behind the government in refusing to give in to the victims' demands. Many people I've talked to think that doing so would deepen the humiliation and embarrassment felt by Filipinos over the incident, and we refuse to be demonized as a whole for the actions of one man or for the mistakes of the people who responded to this crisis.

Maybe in the end the Philippine government would give in, to save the jobs of the thousands of Filipinos working there, but most Filipinos would seethe at what is perceived to be Hong Kong's arrogance. It would poison relations for a very long time, and in fact most Filipinos, except of course those who have relatives working in Hong Kong, would rather endure sanctions than national humiliation.

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