Hong Kong said Friday it will contribute $5.16 million to a fund that can be used to help the typhoon-stricken Philippines, after drawing fire for sticking to a deadline on sanctions against Manila over a 2010 hostage crisis.
The city's legislative body voted for the injection of HK$40 million ($5.16 million) into an existing disaster relief fund, boosting its total amount to HK$49 million, which aid groups can then apply for, the government said in a statement late Friday.
"We really want to provide the needed aid to victims affected very significantly by this major typhoon," the territory's chief secretary Carrie Lam said earlier this week.
Hong Kong is insisting that the Philippines offer a formal apology over the 2010 hijacking of a tour bus in Manila by a former police officer which left eight Hong Kongers dead and seven injured.
Its refusal to drop the threat despite the devastating impact of typhoon Haiyan, which has killed thousands and devastated entire coastal communities, has drawn strong criticism from some Hong Kongers and the city's Filipino migrant workers.
"The situation is still the same," a government spokeswoman told AFP on Friday.
Aid for the Philippines has been pouring in from around the world following the disaster, and Hong Kong's stance drew anger from citizens who expressed themselves on bulletin boards and social media.
"This is totally disgusting behaviour... Hong Kong is losing its way," says one person posting on the South China Morning post's website.
"Shame, shame, shame, Hong Kong," said another user.
Eman Villanueva, vice chairman of the Filipino Migrant Workers' Union, told AFP the government's position on the sanctions deadline was "insensitive" and that the deadline should be pushed back.
"Any sanctions imposed on the Philippines will directly affect the people and not the government," he said.
Hong Kong's leader Leung Chun-ying said last week that he will take "necessary actions to apply sanctions" if he does not see concrete steps taken to resolve the issue within a month.
The city's unpopular government -- under pressure from families of the victims -- has mooted a cancellation of its visa-free arrangement for visitors from the Philippines as well as possible trade sanctions.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino has refused to apologise on behalf of the country for the Manila hostage situation, insisting the deaths were primarily caused by the actions of the hostage taker.
The Hong Kong Red Cross said Friday it has also raised HK$7.7 million dollars from the public for the Philippines relief effort.
The United Nations has appealed for $301 million in aid, with the US and Britain among leading donors and China on Thursday stepping up its initially modest response to dispatch rescue materials worth $1.6 million.