MANILA - President Benigno Aquino III has no plans to apologize to Hong Kong over the botched hostage crisis in 2010, noting China has not even paid compensation for Filipinos who died in several incidents there.
In an interview with New York Times, Aquino addressed for the first time Hong Kong’s move to scrap the visa-free access of government officials and diplomats.
He was quoted as saying that apologizing could create legal issues.
“Mr. Aquino said he had no plans to apologize, saying that doing so could create a legal liability and noting that China had not paid compensation to the families of Filipinos who have died in episodes there,” the New York Times reported.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has described as unfortunate Hong Kong's decision to suspend the visa-free arrangement for visiting Philippine diplomats and officials.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying earlier said the move is the "first phase of sanctions" over the Philippines' refusal to apologize for the hostage-taking.
Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez, however, said the Philippines is not considering an apology to Hong Kong.
“The Philippine government regrets the Hong Kong-SAR’s implementation of sanctions against the Philippines, particularly the requirement of visas usually given to Philippine officials…”
“The sanction is unfortunate because a substantive closure on the Quirino Grandstand had already been arrived at three years ago with the previous Hong Kong-SAR, the victims and their families,” he added.
Hernandez said the government has even responded immediately to an “appeal for compassion” sent last October.
“Additional tokens of solidarity have been pledged by the Filipino people at the behest of the Philippine government. These amounts being offered are substantially more than those previously accepted by the victims and their families,” he said.
He said the government was made to understand that the victims have already agreed to such “tokens.”