P60M compensation eyed for HK hostage victims
MANILA, Philippines—Chinese-Filipino businessmen based in Manila are planning to raise P60 million to compensate the families of the victims of the 2010 Rizal Park hostage crisis that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead.
This was according to Ike Gutierrez, spokesperson and longtime confidante of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
Gutierrez spoke of the plan in an interview Saturday, days after Estrada announced his intention to personally apologize to Hong Kong officials for the tragedy, which happened during the term of his predecessor, Alfredo Lim.
In support of the apology, a recently passed city council resolution indicated that Estrada’s gesture was in line with his plan to revive Manila’s tourism and investment climate, especially at Chinatown.
President Benigno Aquino, however, remained firm that the government, which had expressed condolences to the victims’ families, should not extend a formal apology to their government since the killings were caused not by the state but by a single person, a dismissed police officer.
According to Gutierrez, Estrada “also think that President Aquino should not apologize for the incident because it was a local issue and it was the mayor at that time who should have apologized.”
Lim, who lost to Estrada in his reelection bid in May, was among the officials initially charged for the deaths of the Hong Kong nationals, but was later cleared of liabilities.
Estrada is scheduled to leave for Hong Kong on the last week of November to deliver a letter of apology, with the intention of “normalizing relations” between the Philippines and the Chinese administrative region.
Following the Aug. 23, 2010, tragedy, a formal apology has been one of the long-standing demands of the Hong Kong government, which also advised its citizens against traveling to the country.
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