Backlash vs OFWs in HK feared over PH refusal to apologize
MANILA, Philippines – Fearing a backlash on migrant workers, a militant group on Wednesday, November 6, said the Philippines has nothing to lose by apologizing to Hong Kong over the 2010 hostage crisis.
Leftist party-list group Anakpawis said President Benigno Aquino III should consider the “negative implication” of his refusal to say sorry to Hong Kong for the mishandled hostage-taking drama that left Hong Kong tourists dead.
The group explained that Hong Kong might stop hiring Filipino workers, as well as impose economic sanctions, if the Philippines continues “to play hard ball.”
“We have nothing to gain but more to lose in the process. What possible harm an apology will do? Does it affect our national security or dignity as a nation? Certainly not,” Anakpawis said.
It added: “There is no shame to apologize; in fact that is the best way to defuse the stand-off and the proper diplomatic way of handling Hong Kong’s ire on the botched hostage rescue operation.”
Hong Kong's leader on Tuesday, November 5, threatened sanctions against the Philippines over the hostage crisis that killed 8 Hong Kong tourists. (READ: HK to PH: Take 'concrete steps' or face sanctions.)
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying gave the Philippines a month-long deadline.
Aquino refuses to apologize, explaining that the hostage-taking incident was the “act of one individual [who was] probably mentally unstable.” (READ: DFA on Erap's HK apology: Aquino's stand prevails)
Anakpawis, on the other hand, cited command responsibility. “He is the commander-in-chief; President Aquino should take full responsibility on the action of his men.”
The leftist group took the stand of China on the hostage crisis. (READ: China to PH: Don't forget HK hostages.)
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the Philippines should “pay high attention to the requirements and concerns of the families of the victims, take concrete and effective measures, and work out a proper solution as soon as possible.”
At stake is the Philippines' relationship with one of its economic drivers.
Hong Kong, China's special administrative region, is a top destination of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Citing Philippine statistics, the International Organization for Migration says Hong Kong and China attract the 4th highest number of OFWs.
Up to 7.9% of OFWs go to Hong Kong and China.
The IOM adds that Hong Kong is the Philippines' 10th highest source of remittances.
Up to $367,864,000 (P15.8 billion) in remittances in 2011 came from Hong Kong, the IOM says. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com