Urgent!!! RP handled hostage-taking seriously, sincerely — China

September 22, 2010 10:09 am 

MANILA, Sept. 21 —- Based on its "initial reading” of the Philippine Government report of the August 23 botched attempt to rescue Hong Kong tourists during a deathly hostage-taking incident in Manila, Beijing on Tuesday afternoon said it believes the investigations were handled in a “sincere and serious manner” and this effort is appreciated by the Chinese Government.

This was the official comment of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in Beijing, relayed to the Philippine press on Tuesday by its embassy in Manila, 24 hours after Ambassador Liu Jianchao received the report from Philippine Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Esteban Conejos Jr. The Chinese comments were guarded, with MOFA making sure that they were based on an “initial reading” or impressions of a long report that needed “time for a careful study” on Beijing's part.

The report was prepared by the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC), headed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, following a week-long live television coverage of the investigations.

The embassy said that on Monday it transmitted the IIRC report to the MOFA as well as to the government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the hometown of the eight tourists who died and those injured in the botched attempt to extricate them from the hands of a despondent hostage-taker, a former police officer.

At least a dozen government bureaucrats and Filipino broadcast journalists have been named as possibly culpable of irresponsibility in the handling of the rescue attempt. Among those implicated were the highest official of the Philippine National Police, Jesus Versoza, who has since retired from the service. Another is the Filipino-Chinese controversial City Mayor of Manila, Beijing’s sister-city, Alfredo Lim and vice mayor Isko "Domagoso" Moreno

”The initial reading indicates that the Philippine side takes a sincere and serious manner in handling with and looking into the incident, to which the Chinese side expresses its appreciation,” the MOFA statement said.

The MOFA statement also reminded the Philippines “to handle (post-investigation measures)in an appropriate manner…so as to console the souls of the victims and render comfort to the bereaved families” of the victims.

Those familiar with Chinese tradition and culture said that on the whole, “appropriate manner” meant that financial reparations and compensation are called for and that mere naming of culpable persons may not be satisfactory.

Early on, President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III has pledged to duly compensate the victims’ families. He has promised to look more deeply into the culpability on his return from a current trip to the U.S.

As it assured the Philippines of being ready to work with Manila "to advance bilateral relations in a sound and steady manner," MOFA also asked that "effective measures to strengthen protection of Chinese” people in the Philippines and prevent a similar tragedy be adopted.

The MOFA issuance in full”

”On 20 September 2010, the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines has been given by the Philippine IIRC the First Report of the IIRC on the 23 August 2010 Rizal Park Hostage-taking Incident: Sequence of Events, Evaluation and Recommendations.

"The Report has been forwarded to the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

”Since it is a long report, the Chinese side does need time for a careful study.

"The initial reading indicates that the Philippine side takes a sincere and serious manner in handling with and looking into the incident, to which the Chinese side expresses its appreciation.

”We hope that the Philippine side continues to handle with the aftermath in an appropriate manner, so as to console the souls of the victims and render comfort to the bereft families and injured Hong Kong compatriots.

"We also hope that the Philippine side takes effective measures to strengthen protection of the Chinese personnel in the Philippines and prevent the reoccurrence of similar tragedies.

"The Chinese side stands ready to work with the Philippine side to advance the bilateral relations in a sound and steady manner.” (PNA)

V3/GJB

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