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PH to resolve conflict with HK on 2010 crisis

The Philippine government is still working with Hong Kong towards “a mutually satisfactory conclusion” amid an unresolved row arising from the 2010 hostage crisis, Malacañang said.

One of President Aquino’s senior Cabinet members, Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, remains the government’s pointman to resolve the conflict with Hong Kong.

“Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras continues to discuss with HK government officials on reaching a mutually satisfactory conclusion,” a statement from the Palace read.

The Palace statement was issued ahead of the planned visit of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada to Hong Kong to apologize for the Manila hostage crisis.

Estrada will reportedly meet with Hong Kong government officials after the Holy Week.

Palace officials, meanwhile, were mum when asked if Estrada’s planned apology to Hong Kong is sanctioned by the Palace.

“We need to check and verify with Mayor Estrada’s office,” Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

Hong Kong has demanded an apology from President Aquino for the botched police attempt to rescue Hong Kong hostages held by a disgruntled police officer in Luneta in August, 2010.

President Aquino, however, refused to apologize for the Manila hostage crisis, saying that issuing an apology could create “a legal liability.”

President Aquino claimed that China has not yet given compensation to the families of Filipinos who died in recent incidents there.

Instead, President Aquino expressed condolences to the families of the victims and agreed to send Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to brief them on the status of the cases.

Hong Kong has cancelled the visa-free privileges for Philippine officials and diplomats after Manila’s alleged failure to meet its demands after the bungled hostage rescue in 2010. Those affected must seek visas before traveling to Hong Kong, a popular destination for Filipinos.