Hong Kong keeps Philippines on tourist destination blacklist-A A +A
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
MANILA -- The Philippines expressed disappointment Tuesday over the move of Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, to keep its closest Asian neighbor on a tourist destination blacklist.
In a news report, the Asia Sentinel said Hong Kong people were still warned against traveling to the Philippines citing the botched hostage rescue in Manila in 2010 wherein eight Chinese tourists from Hong Kong were killed as reason.
"We are obviously disappointed over this decision," Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said in a text message sent to deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte Tuesday.
He stressed that the Filipino people through government agencies such as Department of Tourism, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Interior and Local Government and the City Government of Manila "have done all that is reasonably possible to restore the trust and confidence of the government of Hong Kong SAR in keeping with the constant friendship between our two peoples."
The tourism chief particularly cited the completion of the National Crisis Management Core Manual, which serves as reference in responding to and managing human-induced crises.
On August 23, 2010, a dismissed police officer hijacked a bus filled with 25 people, 20 of them are visitors from Hong Kong, in an attempt to be reinstated to his previous post. Hostage taker Rolando Mendoza and eight others were killed in ensuing gun-battle with policemen after negotiations broke down 10 hours into the standoff.
Hong Kong's decision supposedly put the Philippines at par with Syria, where 60,000 civilians were killed last year, including 502 foreigners, based on the United Nations report.
The decision was also believed to be affected by the territorial dispute between Philippines and China on the West Philippine Sea.
Despite this action, Jimenez said the government will persevere in its effort to restore relations with Hong Kong. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)