By Arjay L. Balinbin
PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday, April 12, “formally” apologized to the government of Hong Kong for the Aug. 23, 2010 hostage crisis in Manila that led to eight Hong Kong tourists killed, early on the watch of then president Benigno S.C. Aquino III.
“The Chinese government and the people of China have always been waiting for this. There has been no official apology coming from the Philippines regarding the incident that happened in August 2010,” the President said in his speech during his meeting with the Filipino community in Hong Kong on Thursday evening.
He added: “To the Chinese people who are here, from the bottom of my heart, as President of the Republic of the Philippines, may I apologize formally to you now. We are sorry the incident happened…I would like to guarantee this will never happen again. [I hope,] this will go a long way to really assuage the feelings of the Chinese people.”
According to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), there were “over 2,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong who warmly received” Mr. Duterte at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal for his meeting with the Filipino community.
As of January 2018, according to the PCOO, “there are around 222,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong, of (whom) more than 355 Filipino community organizations are registered with the Philippine Consulate General.”
The PCOO likewise said that “most of those organizations are composed of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). The Philippine Association of Hong Kong (PAHK) is…the organization of Filipino professionals in Hong Kong that was founded in 1961.”