Friday, November 8, 2013

Hong Kong to scrap visa-free access for the Philippines

The South China Morning Post reported that Hong Kong lawmakers has voted 41-3 on a non-binding motion that will scrap the visa-free access of Filipino tourists to Hong Kong. They also passed a motion to impose sanctions to the Philippines.

Earlier Leung Chun-ying, Hong Kong's chief executive said that the Hong Kong government will impose sanctions against the Philippines if there are no concrete steps taken to resolve the issue of the victims of the hostage-taking incident that happened in Manila, Philippines last August 23, 2010 were 8 Hong
Kong people killed and 7 injured.

The non-binding motion is expected to exert pressure not only on the Hong Kong government but also the Philippines.

The victims families wants an apology from the president of the Philippines, compensation, punishment for officials involved and implement measures to protect tourists’ personal safety.

The relevant sanction measures should include:

  1. the Hong Kong Government to suspend the procurement of Philippine products;
  2. the Hong Kong Government to suspend the new round of negotiations on areas such as air freedom rights and trade, etc.;
  3. except for the hostage incident, the Hong Kong Government to suspend all its dealings with the Philippine Government;
  4. the Hong Kong Government to suspend inviting Philippine cultural organizations to Hong Kong to participate in the cultural and arts activities organized by the Hong Kong Government;
  5. the Hong Kong Legislative Council to suspend its friendship exchanges and liaison with theCongress of the Philippines; and
  6. the Hong Kong Government to call on the Hong Kong community and commercial sector to suspend their commercial and cultural exchanges with the Philippines, and call on the public to boycott Philippine goods
The Council also proposes to implement the economic sanction measures in phases by amending the
Immigration Ordinance:

Phase one: from 1 April 2014 onwards, to forbid the issuance of employment visas to newly-employed Philippine domestic helpers, but excluding the issuance of employment visas for employment contracts
which are renewed with the same employers during the period from 1 April to 31 December 2014;

Phase two: from 1 January 2015 on wards, to forbid the extension of Philippine domestic helpers’ limit of stay;

Phase three: from 1 July 2015 onwards, to forbid the issuance of entry visas to Philippine passport holders.

Source: Motion Imposing economic sanctions on the Philippines and restoring Hong Kong people’s dignity.

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