MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday formally apologized to the Chinese people and the government of China for the Manila hostage crisis that resulted in the death of eight Hong Kong tourists in August 2010.
Duterte expressed his apology while addressing over 2,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong and before returning to the Philippines from his successful three-day trip to China.
“Let me for the first time, the Chinese government and the people of China have all been waiting for this. There has been no official apology coming from the Philippines regarding that incident that happened in August 2010,” the President said.
“May I address myself to the Chinese people who are here, from the bottom of my heart and as the President of the Republic of the Philippines and behalf of the Filipino people, may I apologize formally to you now. We are sorry that the incident happened,” he added.
Duterte guaranteed the Chinese people that the incident “as humanly possible” will never happened again.
The hostage-taking incident happened over two months after Duterte’s predecessor former President Benigno Aquino III took his oath as president in 2010.
Aquino, however, refused to issue an apology, prompting Hong Kong to impose sanctions on the Philippines, including suspension of visa-free arrangement for the visiting Filipino diplomats and officials.
“I hope this would go a long way to really assuage the feeling of the Chinese people,” Duterte said.
Duterte explained that the hostage crisis happened “in this generation” and “so it is only right, lives were lost under our jurisdiction, what is really needed is just to say we are very sorry”.
“We apologized,” he added, drawing applause from the crowd mostly OFWs.
As of January 2018, there are around 222,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong of which more than 355 Filipino community organizations. (PNA)
By Jelly Musico