MANILA (Updated 3:45 p.m.) -- Six more countries have allegedly issued travel advisories that warn their residents against visiting the Philippines after a hostage crisis that killed several Hong Kong tourists Monday.
The tourists were killed in a 12-hour hostage drama aboard a bus hijacked by a dismissed police officer in Manila on Monday evening. The standoff ended when police stormed the vehicle and a sniper killed the hostage taker, former Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza, who had been demanding his job back.
The incident prompted the Hong Kong government to issue Monday evening a travel advisory against the Philippines, with its administration saying there is a serious threat against its residents in the country.
Radio reports on Tuesday said following the Hong Kong travel ban, the governments of Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal, Iran, Pakistan and Russia also issued alert orders against travel to the Philippines.
Sun.Star tried calling the countries' embassies in Manila, but the calls were not answered as of this posting Tuesday.
Russian Consul Evgeny Fidchuk, in a telephone interview, said they haven't received any advice from Moscow, Russia yet regarding the travel advisory.
The Department of Foreign Affairs, meanwhile, said it has not yet received the alleged travel advisories from the six other countries, but it already has a copy of the travel warning from Hong Kong, China.
The United States and China condemned the hostage drama, saying it was tragic and disappointing.
"It's disappointing that Hong Kong residents tried to make a pleasure trip to Manila and ended up with death and casualties. This is very tragic. And the way it was handled and particularly the outcome, I found it disappointing," Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang said.
China has demanded an investigation on the incident, which started around 10:15 a.m. Monday in front of the Quirino Grandstand where Philippine President Benigno Aquino was sworn in last June 30.
"The Chinese government demands the Philippine government [to] launch a thorough investigation into the incident and inform the Chinese side of related details as soon as possible," Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said, according to a statement posted on the ministry's website late Monday.
Yang telephoned his Filipino counterpart, Alberto Romulo, to voice his concern about the incident.
Yang said the Chinese government "was appalled" by the murders.
United States Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas Jr. said the American government condemned the hostage taking. He expressed his condolences to the victims and their families.
In a separate statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said China had already sent a team to Manila to deal with the aftermath of the hijacking.
"China has requested the Philippine side to take pragmatic measures to ensure life and property safety of Chinese nationals in the country," he said.
The Chinese government also said it has already arranged flights for the Hong Kong tourists who were killed and injured in the tragedy.
Seven other tourists were on the bus and two of them were wounded and in serious condition.
In response, Philippine President Aquino vowed a thorough investigation into what transpired Monday.
He also said his government will provide funds for more training, as well as for acquiring new and better equipments for the country's security forces.
"We will cooperate with all the agents of the aggrieved party to repair as fast as possible the damaged relations between our countries," Aquino said.
The President also said the government has already apologized to the Hong Kong government for failing to secure the welfare of some of the hostages.
The Palace will also be meeting with the media to come up with guidelines on how to handle such situation.
"So we will be talking to you and will come up with terms and conditions that will help each of us achieve our objectives," the President said.
The Philippine government is optimistic that the hostage crisis would have little effect in the country's tourism industry and that foreign investors would understand that the incident is not reflective of the actual situation in the entire country.
The countries generally have good relations, although there have been strains because of competing territorial claims in the South China Sea that include its potentially rich oil and gas deposits and strategically important shipping lanes. (AP/Sunnex)