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Hong Kong Keeps Philippine Travel Ban

Manila, PhilippinesHong Kong Government chief executive and president of the executive council Donald Tsang said on Tuesday that the travel ban to the Philippines will remain in place since authorities in the country haven’t taken effective measures to protect the personal safety of tourists. They also haven’t restored confidence in local tourism among the people. Only when these objectives have been met will they consider lifting the black travel warning.

The black travel ban in Hong Kong indicates severe threat, and only Syria and the Philippines are on that list. Tsang says that he continues to pursue justice for the vicitms of the Manila hostage crisis, which happened on August 23, 2010. The tragedy saw eight tourists from Hong Kong killed alongside dismissed Senior Inspected Rolando Mendoza, who took them hostage on a tour bus of 20 people, when police failed to rescue them. The former officer demanded that he be reinstated in the Philippine National Police. Because of the tragedy, Hong Kong imposed a black travel ban on the Philippines, which discourages all travel to the country.

Tsang said in a blog entry that the day was full of sorrow, as many others aside from those who were killed suffered mental and physical trauma. Although it’s been a year since the incident, people haven’t forgotten what happened. The deceased are often missed and hope they rest in peace. They also wish the injured a speedy recovery and for survivors and family members to be able to recover from the shadows as soon as they can. However, he said that the community united in the wake of the crisis and helped each other get through the tough time.

The government offocial also praised the victims for their bravery, noble sentiments and self-sacrifice. Hospitals were providing treatment to the injured, and the Social Welfare Department offered support to the victims and their families. Some Philippine private institutions also gave an unconditional donation to the victims, and condolences were expressed by the Filipino people. However, the government in Hong Kong has used many means of urging the Philippine government to actively investigate the Manila hostage crisis and conduct remedial work, including comforting families of the deceased and survivors. They have also exhausted efforts to get results of the investigation published regularly and for the officials involved to be punished.

Meanwhile, families are still demanding proper justice and compensation for the deaths of those who were taken hostage on the tour bus. The family of tour guide Masa Tse Ting-chunn, who was able to quickly hide his phone and sound the alarm, wants the officials responsible for the botched rescue effort to be punished. When negotiations had broken down, the tour guide was handcuffed to the front of the bus and killed by Mendoza after acting as an intermediary.

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