August 25 declared National Day of Mourning for slain hostages
24 Oras video: Aquino extends condolences to victims of hostage taking
President Noynoy Aquino declared today, August 25, the National Day of Mourning for the eight tourists from Hong Kong who were killed in the hostage crisis at the Quirino Grandstand on August 23, reports GMANews.tv. Under Proclamation No. 23, public institutions in the country and Philippine embassies and consulates abroad were ordered to lower the Philippine flag at half-mast. August 25 is not a holiday, clarified presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda.
Aquino said in a GMANews.tv report, "These deaths are a great loss to the peoples of Hong Kong and the Philippines, and call for the most solemn commemoration and respect at a time of grief of our two peoples." The President has offered his "deepest condolences to the families of the victims," in a statement posted on the official Philippine government website. He added, "The Secretary of Foreign Affairs has conveyed our deep feelings of sorrow to the Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China and the people of Hong Kong through Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang."
The Philippine government will shoulder the slain hostages’ funeral expenses and the survivors’ hospitalization, accommodations and transportation back home, Lacierda said according to GMANews.tv.