No security threats to Pinoys in HK, says consul

By Leilani Chavez,

Posted at Aug 24 2010 12:05 PM | Updated as of Aug 24 2010 08:06 PM

MANILA, Philippines - There were no reported security threats to the large Filipino community in Hong Kong following the bloody hostage incident in Manila that killed 8 Hong Kong tourists on Monday.

In an interview with radio DZMM on Tuesday, Consul General Claro Cristobal said they have not received any security threats despite the anger and disappointment of the Chinese community in Hong Kong.

There are currently 152,000 Filipinos in the former Crown Colony, now one of China’s Special Administrative Regions. According to latest count by the consulate, 133,000 of them are domestic workers and around 14,000 are Hong Kong-based Filipino professionals. The rest are in the region as temporary residents.

“So far wala kaming natatanggap na anumang paramdam na nalalagay sa delikadong kalagayan ang buhay o ang person ng mga kababayan antin dito,” Cristobal said.

“Bukod sa pagsasalita, pag-e-email para ipahayag ang kanilang damdamin, wala tayo natatanggap na threat at babala na hindi nalalagay sa hindi ligtas na sitwasyon ang ating kababayan,” he added.

Cristobal said all Philippine government offices have opened their lines to listen to the sentiments of the residents. He admitted receiving messages from community leaders expressing sadness over the incident.

Flags flew at half-mast on Tuesday in memory of the 8 tourists killed in the 12-hour siege by dismissed senior police inspector Rolando Mendoza in Rizal Park in Manila.

The Hong Kong government immediately raised a "black" travel alert for the Philippines discouraging against travel to the country.

Anger, shock, disappointment

Earlier, the region’s chief executive Donald Tsang expressed disappointment over the incident and sent doctors, psychologists, social workers, and family members via a chartered flight of the region’s flag carrier Cathay Pacific at around 2 a.m.

“Hinatid at ipinadama [ng Philippine consulate] sa kanila ang ating pakikiramay at ang ating solidarity sa kalungkutan. Tayo bilang isang bansa ay napakalalim ng pagkalungkot sa kinahinanatnan ng nangyari sa Pilipinas. Mahal natin ang katahimikan lalo na ang safety, ang kaligtasan ng ating mga mahal sa buhay at iyon po ang ating ipinadama,” Cristobal said.

According to Cristobal, they have consistently received angry and frustrated e-mails from various groups, insisting that the Philippine government should conduct a thorough investigation and be accountable for the “damage.”

A youth group also visited the consulate seeking proper handling of the incident’s aftermath.

“Hinihiling nila na ang ating pamahalaan ang magbayad ng damages sa mga biktima at sa kanilang pamilya. Ang hinihiling ng ating pamahalaan na tiyakin ang kaligtasan sa ating bansa,” Cristobal added.

As the incident unfolded and ended tragically, Hong Kong residents watched the events on the streets and in their houses beamed extensively by the local and foreign media.

“Kung ano ang nakita ng ating kababayan dyan, lahat po iyon ay nakita multi-channel dito sa Hong Kong. We share the same sentiments,” he said. - with DZMM