Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a meeting with the Filipino community in Hong Kong, April 12, 2018. (KIN CHEUNG / AP)
HONG KONG - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has apologized on the Philippines' behalf for the 2010 hostage crisis in Manila that left eight Hong Kong people dead.
From the bottom of my heart as the president of the Republic of the Philippines, and on behalf of the people of the Philippines, may I apologize formally to you now
Rodrigo Duterte, Philippine President
Duterte, who is on a three-day private visit to Hong Kong, said he would guarantee such an incident never happens again.
Although the apology came nearly eight years after the incident, it was welcome with instant cheers from the crowd who were present as Duterte delivered his speech during a scheduled meeting with the Filipino community in the special administrative region on Thursday.
"From the bottom of my heart as the president of the Republic of the Philippines, and on behalf of the people of the Philippines, may I apologize formally to you now. We are sorry that the incident happened. And as humanly possible, I would like to make this guarantee that it will never, never happen again," Duterte said.
Benigno Aquino III, then president at the time, had refused to apologize, saying a formal apology would only create legal liability for Manila.
Seven Hong Kong tourists and their tour guide were killed when a former Filipino police officer hijacked a Hong Thai Travel tour bus and opened fire after a standoff with the police on Aug 23, 2010.
The Manila authorities have been criticized for the botched handling of the crisis, which also left seven people injured.
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