PH offers ‘tokens’ after HK sanction

Paterno Esmaquel II
The DFA didn't specify the tokens, but said the Filipino people 'pledged' these after the Philippines got a 'renewed appeal for compassion in October 2013

TOKENS. Survivors and relatives of 8 Hong Kong tourists killed in a 2010 Philippine bus hostage fiasco in Manila gather outside the Philippine consulate in Hong Kong to demand an apology on August 23, 2012. Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Thursday, January 30, offered Hong Kong “tokens of solidarity” after China’s special administrative region sanctioned it over a 2010 hostage crisis. 

The Aquino administration, however, put its foot down: It is “not prepared” to apologize to Hong Kong.

“To bring the issue to its final conclusion, the Philippines remains committed to manifest compassion for the victims and their families, and is ready to turn over the additional tokens of solidarity from the Filipino people. We hope that we will be able to do this as soon as possible,” the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.

The DFA made this statement after Hong Kong on Wednesday, January 29, said it decided to cancel the 14-day visa-free status for official and diplomatic Filipino passport holders. Hong Kong did this after the Philippines refused to apologize to the victims of the hostage-taking incident, which killed 8 Hong Kong tourists.

The DFA didn’t specify the tokens, but said the Filipino people “pledged” these after the Philippines got a “renewed appeal for compassion” in October 2013.

The DFA said the amounts being offered “are substantially more than those that have been previously accepted by the victims and their families.”

“We have been made to understand that the victims and their families have agreed to this offer,” the DFA said.

“In response to this generous offering, a total renegotiation has been opened by the Hong Kong SAR government to seek a demand for an apology which the Philippines, as a sovereign nation, is not prepared to consider. Our nation has already expressed its deepest regret and condolences over the incident and we are preparing to reiterate this,” it added.

The Philippines said it “regrets” the sanctions imposed by Hong Kong. –

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at