Filipinos in HK offer mass for hostage victims

Posted at 08/28/2010 3:25 PM | Updated as of 08/29/2010 3:14 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Filipino community in Hong Kong offered prayers for the victims of the hostage crisis in Manila.

Philippine Consul General Claro Cristobal was among those who attended the mass held Thursday at the St. Joseph’s Church.

“Kagabi (Thursday), kasama natin ang mga Pinoy at iba pang nasyon na nag-attend ng misa offered by our community sa St. Joseph,” Cristobal said in an interview with radio dzMM.

According to the Consulate’s website, more vigils and masses in remembrance of the victims of the hostage crisis will be held at the St. Joseph’s Church, St. Francis Church, Annunciation Parish, St. Benedict Church, and St. Teresa Parish Church on Sunday.

Cristobal said the Pinoy community also asked Filipinos who will attend the masses to wear white.

“Dito sa Hong Kong diumano ang simbolo ng pakikiramay ay 'yung magsuot ng puti. 'Yung itim parang ang understanding ay kamag-anak ka o malapit ka sa nasawi. Inirerekomenda ng community leaders dito,” Cristobal said.

The hostage crisis in Manila continues to hog headlines in Hong Kong. Despite this, Cristobal hopes that the situation would soon return to normal.

“Kahapon po walang protest action na naganap sa konsulado. Walang rally. Tuloy-tuloy ang natatanggap nating tawag o kaya email o text messages subalit wala pong protest action sa konsulado na naganap kahapon,” said Cristobal.

It can be recalled that Monday’s hostage drama ended tragically with 8 tourists, including 5 Hong Kong Chinese and 3 Canadians, dead.

Cristobal mourned with Hong Kong government officials for the tragic loss of lives in the incident.

He added that the Consulate continues to coordinate with Filipinos in Hong Kong.

Cristobal also clarified that the 2 overseas Filipino workers terminated from work had nothing to do with the Manila hostage crisis.

“Dalawa na po ang nagsasabi na binigyan ng termination. 'Yung naunang kaso na-follow-up natin 'yun. Inulit namin marahil magandang tanungin mo, 'Bakit ka binigyan ng termination notice?' Ang sagot daw sa kanya, 'Walang kinalaman 'yan sa kaganapan sa Pilipinas. Ito ay dahil gusto kong ako na mismo ang mag-alaga ng aking mga anak,'” said Cristobal.
 
The second OFW who worked in Hong Kong for only 7 months was given the notice because her employer was allegedly not satisfied with her performance.

Cristobal said they also received emails from Filipino tourists who want to get advice from the Consulate if it’s safe for them to travel to Hong Kong.

“Ang sinabi namin, wala po kaming nakikitang senyales na magkakaroon ng kaguluhan,” he said.

Meanwhile, the people of Hong Kong continue to mourn and express their anger over the mishandling of the incident that killed the 8 tourists.

More than 38,000 people wrote messages on the condolences wall posted in Hong Kong’s 18 districts.

The Hong Kong government also opened a Facebook account for those wishing to leave messages of sympathy for the families of the victims.

On Sunday, different political groups in Hong Kong will hold a big rally to demand justice for the lives lost in the incident. With Nadia Trinidad, ABS-CBN News