Erap to apologize to HK over 2010 Manila hostage
Manila, Philippines – The strained relations between the Philippines and Hong Kong, caused by the hostage-taking incident in Manila, may come to an end soon.
Yesterday, the City Council of Manila passed a resolution authorizing Mayor Joseph Estrada to represent the city and deliver a long-delayed apology to the Hong Kong government over the August 23, 2010, hostage-taking incident that took the lives of eight tourists.
That incident prompted Hong Kong to issue a travel ban against the Philippines.
In a special session yesterday, the city council approved the resolution granting authority to Estrada to personally deliver the apology to the families of the slain hostages and to the government of People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Earlier, Estrada said he is set to travel to China to woo officials on his planned Manila-Beijing “sister city” agreement that would greatly boost both the country’s cultural and trade relations.
“As former head of state, Mayor Estrada understands the importance of tourism in the nation’s economy; hence, he gives priority to the development of the two-square kilometer area of Manila Chinatown in Binondo, Manila – the center of trade and commerce of the city,” the resolution said.
“Considering that the unfortunate 2010 hostage-taking incident transpired within the territorial jurisdiction of the city of Manila and that the local government unit’s resources and manpower were utilized in the bungled operation, it is only proper for the chief executive of the local government unit concerned to spearhead the reconciliation and to exert all efforts for a permanent closure and to restore the strained relationship between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the city of Manila,” the resolution added.
Malacañang, however, distanced itself from the planned apology.
“No, it’s their own move,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said when asked if the Palace sanctioned Manila’s apology. (With report from Genalyn D. Kabiling)