RP presents IIRC report to China envoy

September 21, 2010 12:10 pm 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, Sept. 20 –The Philippine government, on Monday presented to Beijing, through the Chinese embassy in Manila, its official investigation report on the Aug. 23 hostage-taking incident in Manila in which eight Hong Kong tourists died.

Acting Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Esteban Conejos Jr. handed over to Beijing’s ambassador to Manila, Liu Jianchao, a copy of the report of the Incident Investigation Review Committee (IIRC) in ceremonies at the DFA headquarters.

In receiving the much-awaited report, DFA quoted Liu as saying that China appreciated “the strong leadership exercised by President Benigno S. Aquino III in directing the IIRC to come up with a comprehensive, transparent and credible report.”

In the midst of the trauma, the Chinese envoy "affirmed that Philippine-Chinese relations remains strong, resilient and dynamic," according to DFA.

The Chinese embassy itself has not issued any reaction to the report-presentation ceremony.

The Malacanang press office maintained that aside from the presentation in Manila, the planned visit to Beijing with the report and an apology-cum-condolences, to be led by Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, is pushing through.

Malacanang said that the presentation to Liu was meant to speed-up receipt by the Chinese side.

At the ceremony, Conejos reiterated the Philippine government’s deep sorrow and condolences to the families of the victims of the incident, with the "hope that the report provides answers to the queries raised by the victims’ families and other parties,” DFA said.

Conejos told Liu of the government’s appreciation of the assistance provided by the Hong Kong government in securing the testimonies of the survivors and the conduct of ballistic examinations –which formed part of the report.

Liu conveyed China's appreciation to the Philippine government for assistance to the Chinese and Hong Kong delegations which flew into Manila right after the hostage-taking incident.

Liu said he was personally thankful to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo for helping to closely coordinate in the investigations as well as in activities such as the send-off funeral at the Manila airport for the victims and assistance to their relatives who came to Manila.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima also received praises for the "professionalism, dedication and high sense of responsibility shown by the IIRC," which she headed, DFA said.

Ahead of Monday's event, Romulo flew to the U.S. as a member of the official entourage of the President.

DFA said that the annexes to the IIRC report were nine folios containing transcripts of the hearings, testimonies, forensic reports and other relevant information gathered by the IIRC.(PNA) RMA/GJB

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