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Hong Kong nationals free to travel to PHL;Palace denies Almendras involvement

2010 Luneta Hostage Crisis (AP PHOTO)

The government of Hong Kong lifted the black travel ban it issued to its citizens against the Philippines.

In a press statement of Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying, he announced the removal of the said travel advisory against the Philippines which was implemented in 2010 after the bloody Luneta hostage taking where eight Hong Kong tourists died.

Because of this, Hong Kong nationals can now travel to the Philippines.

Also, the HK government removed the travel visa it imposed on Philippine government officials which took effect last January.

According to Leung, different agencies in the Philippines worked hard in easing out the tension between the Philippines and Hong Kong.  Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada even personally made a visit to make appease with the citizens of Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Malacanang is giving out conflicting answers on reports that Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras accompanied Estrada to his trip in Hong Kong.

Presidential Spokesman Sec. Edwin Lacierda denied that Almendras left for Hong Kong.  It was also evident that Almendras was trying to avoid the question when asked by the press.

However, PCOO Secretary Sonny Coloma confirmed that Almendras is indeed in Hong Kong.  As to what his reason behind the trip, Coloma is keeping mum about it.

Coloma in an interview with some members of the press said that Malacanang is hopeful that the initiatives of Mayor Estrada will contribute to the national government’s efforts in achieving closure with the said incident.

President Benigno Aquino III continues to refuse to apologize to the Hong Kong government regarding the said hostage-taking at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta.   (with report from Rita B. Salonga)

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