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HK accepts Philippine apology, lifts sanctions
Publication Date : 23-04-2014
The Hong Kong government has finally accepted the apology of the Philippines over the 2010 Manila Hostage Crisis after Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada travelled there to apologise to the relatives of the victims.
“The HK government and the government of the Republic of the Philippines have agreed that the four demands made by the victims and their families on apology, compensation, sanctions against responsible officials and individuals, and tourist safety measures will be resolved and settled,” a joint statement released Wednesday afternoon said.
“The Philippine government expresses its most sorrowful regret and profound sympathy, and extends its most sincere condolences for the pain and suffering of the victims and their families. The Police Director General of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines has written to all victims or their families,” it said.
Sanctions against Philippines government officials have been lifted along with the acceptance of the apology.
“In the spirit of solidarity and in acknowledgement of the loss of the victims and their families, an additional token of solidarity will be given to the victims or their families as a most sincere gesture of compassion of the people of the Philippines,” the statement said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement that it welcomed the agreement between the governments of Hong Kong and Philippines on the hostage crisis.
“The DFA welcomes the statement made by Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive CY Leung on the complete and final resolution of the Quirino Grandstand Incident of 23 August 2010 and the lifting of sanctions,” DFA spokesman Charles Jose said in a statement.
“The Philippines looks forward to working with the Hong Kong SAR government in turning a new page in bilateral relations,” he said.
Hong Kong imposed sanctions against Philippine diplomatic and government officials by cancelling their visa-free privileges last January when talks broke down regarding the compensation for the families of the victims.
Seven Hong Kong tourists were killed in the hostage crisis when sacked policeman Rolando Mendoza hijacked a bus of 22 tourists and three Filipinos and held them hostage in Manila.
Mendoza was killed in the shootout that ensued during the rescue that was widely regarded as a bungled operation.
The families of the victim have long demanded for a formal apology from the government of the Philippines over the incident but the it was not entertained, prompting the Hong Kong government to issue the “first phase” of sanctions in January 2014.