Friday, September 10, 2010

Aquino ignores ‘insulting’ letter from HK official

By Thea Alberto
Yahoo! Southeast Asia

While he tries to repair wounded ties with China, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has admitted ignoring an “insulting” letter sent by a Hong Kong official after the Quirino grandstand hostage crisis.

“Yung sulat ng opisyal na galing sa gobyerno ng Hong Kong na sa ating tingin ay nakaka-insulto ay hindi na rin po natin ni-respond [A letter of an official in Hong Kong which we think is insulting, I did not respond to]” Aquino said during a no-holds-barred interview with television news anchors at the Presidential studio in Kalayaan hall, Malacanang.

Seemingly irked, Aquino admitted the letter was ordering him what he should do as President.

“We were being told in detail of what we are supposed to do—addressed to me,” said Aquino, however refusing to identify who sent the letter.

While Aquino said he understood Hong Kong’s outrage, he said he asked Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo “to handle it” and to take it up with the Chinese ambassador.

“Sinabi na lang po natin sa kanilang People’s Republic of China government na iparating na hindi ho yata tama ito hong sulat na ipinadala…na hindi natin nagustuhan ito,” Aquino said.

Aquino also reiterated he has apologized to Hong Kong through Chief Executive Donald Tsang and that he need not apologize again, despite calls from the Hong Kong parliament.

“I’ve apologized already on behalf of the Filipino people. It won’t do any good to keep apologizing at every turn,” said Aquino.

On August 23, eight tourists from Hong Kong were killed after a day-long hostage drama staged by ex-policeman Rolando Mendoza.

* From Yahoo

Philippine Airlines cabin crews file strike notice

MANILA, Sept 9, 2010 (AFP) – Philippine Airlines' cabin staff on Thursday formally advised the government they would go on strike at the end of October, saying the move would ground all flights by the loss-making flag carrier.

The 1,600-member cabin crew union said it had filed a strike notice with the labour ministry, which by law has 30 days to try to find a compromise between the airline and employees to prevent a shut-down.

"Once we go on strike, no flight will take off," said Bob Anduiza, president of the Flight Attendants Association of the Philippines.

"This will ground PAL's entire operations," he told a news conference.

PAL spokeswoman Cielo Villaluna appealed to the union to reconsider and return to the negotiating table.

"This will affect Philippine tourism and our financial position," Villaluna said in a radio interview.

The cabin staff are seeking a raise that would put their pay on par with that offered by foreign carriers. They are also demanding paid maternity leave and an end to a company policy that forces female attendants to retire at the age of 40.

There was no immediate comment from the labour department.

The planned strike is the latest in a string of labour problems to hit the national flag-carrier. Last month, 25 pilots and first officers of PAL's short-haul aircraft suddenly quit for higher paying jobs abroad, forcing the abrupt cancellation of several flights.

* From Yahoo

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