MANILA, April 23 -- Philippine President Benigno Aquino III expressed satisfaction on Wednesday that "final closure and a mutually satisfactory" conclusion has been reached between Manila and Hong Kong over the 2010 hostage crisis, a senior Philippine government official said Wednesday.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said both Malacanang , the presidential palace, and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also look forward to working with the Hong Kong government in "turning a new page in bilateral relations."
The DFA said it welcomed the statement made by Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Chief Executive CY Leung on the complete and final resolution of the Quirino Grandstand Incident and the lifting of sanctions.
Coloma said Malacanang also thanked former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada for his initiative "that has contributed to the national government's efforts to reach this desired outcome."
Coloma said in a statement that he read before the media that Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, who is still in Hong Kong, has conveyed to the president of the result of his trip there.
Almendras was the Philippine government's point man in talking with Hong Kong on how to resolve the 2010 hostage crisis. Almendras confirmed that the relationship between the Philippines and Hong Kong "is now back to normal."
Almendras, accompanied by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima, flew to Hong Kong to apologize and offer compensation to the families of the slain Hong Kong tourists.
Coloma said "tokens of solidarity" would also be provided to address the needs of the families of the victims of the hostage incident. He said details would be provided by Almendras.
A dismissed police officer took a busload of tourists hostage in central Manila on Aug. 23, 2010 to demand his reinstatement in the police force. An 11-hour bungled police rescue attempt prompted him to open fire on his hostages before he was himself gunned down. Eight Hong Kong tourists were killed along with their hostage-taker.