‘Be civilized,’ lawmakers tell Hong Kong leader

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Friday, February 21, 2014


ADMINISTRATION allies in the House of Representatives on Friday appealed to Hong Kong Chief Executive Chun-Yin Leung to be civilized by abandoning the bullying tactic being employed by the Chinese territory against the Philippines.

Quezon City Representative Winston Castelo together with party-list lawmakers Rodel Batocabe of Ako Bicol and Sherwin Tugna of Citizens' Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) made their call after Leung warned of more sanctions against the Philippines in the absence of "satisfactory conclusion" to the Manila bus hostage crisis that killed eight Hong Kong tourists at the Quirino Grandstand in August 2010.

"As a supposedly civilized autonomous region, Hong Kong should treat and respect us as a sovereign nation," Batocabe said.

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He said that the Philippine government has been doing so many things to diplomatically resolve the issue except on their demand for President Benigno Aquino III to make a public apology.

"Just like any victim of bullying, there will come a time that we will rise and fight for our rights and dignity. We may be a nation that produces their servants and househelps, but it is about time to put Hong Kong in its proper place and remind it that it needs us as much as we need them. So stop threatening us for we are already used to be threatened all the time so much so that we are already immune to it," Batocabe said.

Castelo, who is chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, asked Hong Kong not to push their luck too hard or may find itself facing international isolation because their action could be construed as part of China's aggression in the West Philippine Sea.

"China should rein in Hong Kong's leaders to exercise sobriety and restraint. If not, Hong Kong will face retaliation from our country. It is not a farfetched idea for Filipinos to refrain from visiting Hong Kong. This is a boycott, plain and simple," Castelo said.

Meanwhile, Tugna said that "the statement of Hong Kong's chief executive is a mere continuation of China's aggression to our country, because of the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea. China is using HK as a proxy in this territorial dispute."

Relations have been strained between Manila and Hong Kong over President Aquino's refusal to issue a public apology for the deaths of the Hong Kong nationals, prompting Leung to warn further sanctions.

Hong Kong has already imposed the "first phase" of sanctions to the Philippines after canceling the visa-free privilege of Filipino diplomats and government officials last month. (Sunnex)

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