Hong Kong — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday, April 12, apologized to the Chinese for the hostage-taking incident in Manila in 2010 that left eight tourists dead.
“May I address myself to the Chinese people who are here, who are with us, who joined us. From the bottom of my heart, as the President of the Republic of the Philippines and in behalf of the people of the Philippines, may I apologize formally to you now,” he said in his speech during his meeting with the Filipino community here.
The Chief Executive said both the government and the people of China have always wanted for an apology.
Duterte further noted that no official apologies from the Philippines have been made.
The President also assured the Chinese that the incident would not happen again.
“We are sorry that the incident happened and as humanly possible, I would like to make this guarantee also that it will never, never happen again,” he said.
The President’s working visit here was capped by a meeting with more than 2,000 members of the Filipino community at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Kowloon.
Duterte told the Filipinos here to stop worrying about the Philippines, as he cited the drop in illegal drugs and terrorism cases.
“We are safe. We are good,” he said.
“Palagay ko naman there has been a lessening use of drugs, criminality, terrorism, and all,” he added.
In addition, Duterte said his administration is pursuing graft and corruption relentlessly.
“Basta we’re doing all right except for a few who are undermining the government,” he said.
President Duterte underscored in his speech that the Philippines has so many favors to thank China for.
“I’d like to thank people and the government of China for being so good to us,” he said.
He also reminded Filipinos to respect China.
“All I ask is that we just follow the rules,” he said.
There are around 222,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, President Duterte announced that he would witness the signing of the Philippines’ deal with the Kuwaiti government, which aims to protect the welfare of overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) in Kuwait.
“I think that to give honor also to the Kuwait government, I will go there for the signing just to witness it,” he said.
The President discussed the demands set by the Philippine government, such as OFWs should have a day off once a week; there should be no confiscation of passports and cellphones; and that they should be allowed to cook their own food. PND