MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Philippine government is ready for any backlash stemming from its decision not to apologize to Hong Kong for the 2010 Manila hostage crisis, including the possible ban of Filipino domestic helpers there.
Interviewed in Brunei late Wednesday where he was attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and other summits, President Benigno Aquino III said Hong Kong has a right to come up with any decision regarding Filipino workers.
“Kung ano ang kilos nila doon sa ating mga workers, siyempre may kalayaan silang desisyunan kung ano ang gusto nila sa lipunan nila,” he said. “Palagay ko naman nakahanda rin ang DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment).”
Aquino made the statement following reports that a political party in Hong Kong is planning to push a bill that will ban Filipino domestic helpers from working there to force Aquino to apologize for the 2010 Manila hostage tragedy that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead.
Aquino was quick to note that he is not challenging the Hong Kong government with this statement.
“Kung sasabihin naman parang hinahamon ko sila, hindi ko sinasabi yun. Pero ang gobyerno itinatag para pangalagaan ang lahat ng mga mamamayan natin. So kung sino ang namomoblema, sino ang may kailangan ng kalinga, dapat nakahanda ang gobyerno all the time,” he said.
Aquino, in Bali, Indonesia, earlier this week, met with Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung but did not offer an apology for the 2010 incident. He said he expressed to Leung his regret for what happened but said he cannot apologize for something they are not directly responsible for.
“Ang posisyon natin merong isang tao na, shall we say, at that point in time mentally unstable that did this act practically on a solitary basis. Paano tayo aamin ng kasalanan na hindi atin?” he said.
He was referring to dismissed policeman Rolando Mendoza, the hostage-taker in the crisis who was later killed by law enforcement authorities. Mendoza then was demanding that he be reinstated in his job.
Last August, survivors and the families of the hostage victims sued the Philippine government over the incident. (MNS)