Friday, 25 April 2014

At Last, Closure

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and his son walk out of the Hong Kong aiport
Finally almost four years later, there is a resolution to the Manila hostage crisis that left eight Hong Kong people dead and a black travel warning to the Philippines.

Manilla Mayor Joseph Estrada, along with police chief Alan Purisima and cabinet secretary Jose Rene Alemendras came to Hong Kong this week.

Estrada handed over two resolutions passed by Manilla's city council expressing the authorities' apology and declaring August 23 will be from now on a day of prayer for the souls of those who died.

Although the final agreement did not contain the word "apologize", the Philippine government expressed its "most sorrowful regret and profound sympathy" over the tragedy that saw sacked police officer Rolando Mendoza hijack a Hong Kong tour bus before he was shot dead.

Tse Chi-lin, brother of Hong Kong tour guide Masa Tse Ting-chunn, said the two national-level Philippine officials used the words "apologize" and "sorry" when they had an emotional meeting with the families for about an hour.

The victims' families also received an undisclosed amount of compensation which they said was acceptable.

For the longest time Philippine President Benigno Aquino refused to apologize, perhaps not wanting to be legally liable for the deaths and injuries to the victims. However, the government completely botched the rescue attempt that was followed live on television.

As punishment, the Hong Kong government under then chief executive Donald Tsang put the Philippines under the black travel warning as a way to scare people from travelling there -- and it severely impacted the country's reputation.

We hope now the families can move on and put this dark event behind them, though we can imagine there will still be tensions between Aquino and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who was annoyed when meeting the Philippine president and put in an awkward seating arrangement on the sidelines of meeting in Bali in October.

After arriving in Hong Kong, an appropriate selfie in a Rolls?
Thanks to Leung for taking one for the team and everyone else who continued to fight for what they believed in.

It's time to move forward and ask questions like what was Estrada's son doing taking selfies with his tongue sticking out while sitting in the backseat of a Rolls Royce?

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