Palace hopes HK govt. plan to revoke visa-free entry for Filipinos won’t strain further PHL-HK relations

MANILA, (PNA) — The Palace remains confident that the Hong Kong government’s plan to revoke the visa-free entry for Filipinos would not further strain the relations between the two nations.

“Ang mangibabaw po diyan ay interes ng bawat bansa at inaasahan natin na kung anuman ang aksyon nila ay ‘di naman po ito hahantong sa pagbawas nung maraming pondo ng pagkakaibigan.

“We have over the years built up a friendship and goodwill with Hong Kong,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said at a press briefing.

“Vina-value naman natin yung pagiging bukas ng Hong Kong at ng ibang bansa para makapag-biyahe ang ating mamamayan. In reciprocity, binibigyan rin natin sila ng similar privileges dahil nais natin mapalago ang ating tourism industry,” he added.

He said the Philippine government is exploring all possible channels to promote goodwill between the two nations, whose relationship was strained after eight Hong Kong nationals were killed in a hostage incident three years ago.

“Patuloy naman po ang efforts ng ating pamahalaan through diplomatic channels and other initiatives na mapalapit po posisyon ng Pilipinas at Hong Kong,” he said.

Hong Kong continues to pressure the Philippine government to apologize following the incident but Pres. Aquino has repeatedly ruled out doing so.

Over the weekend, The South China Morning Post reported that a non-binding Legislative Council motion urging the suspension of the visa-free privilege to Filipinos is set to be passed on Wednesday as lawmakers from different parties expressed support for it.