MANILA - President Aquino still won't apologize to Hong Kong over the Manila hostage crisis in 2010 that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead.
Doing so would create legal issues, Aquino said in an interview with the New York Times.
It's the first time Aquino spoke about the matter since Hong Kong suspended the visa-free access of Philippine officials and diplomats.
A group of Filipino workers in Hong Kong meanwhile urged the president to at least apologize to the victims' families.
"Pwede naman mag-apologize yung government natin whether the president himself or kagaya ng ginawa nila sa Taiwan na nagapadala ang gobyerno natin ng envoy last year at nag-apologize dun sa asawa na napatay na mangingisda," said Eman Villanueva, Secretary General of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong.
Villanueva added that they too do not agree that the Philippine government apologize to its Hong Kong counterpart.
"Dahil wala naman tayong kasalanan sa Hong Kong government or sa Hong Kong people as a whole. Kung hindi yung apology parang yung similar sa Taiwan incident last year na yung apology direkta dun sa family ng mga victims at sa mga survivors," he said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reiterated that the government did everything possible to resolve the issue and reach an agreement.
"It will be unfortunate if the victims and their families will not be able to accept more generous gestures of solidarity from the Filipino people. If Hong Kong will signify acceptance of such gestures, the Philippines is willing to convey these gestures for the benefit of the affected families as soon as possible," said DFA spokesperson, Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez.
Hernandez added, "We call on the Hong Kong authorities to be sober and to reflect rationally on this issue. In line with Philippine Foreign Policy, we are committed to protecting and promoting the interests and welfare of overseas Filipinos in Hong Kong".
- The Bureau, February 5, 2014