OFWS ATTACKED WITH BASEBALL BATS IN TAIWAN/ PINOYS ADVISED TO EAT AT HOME, AVOID STREETS
[AFP photo shows family of slain Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng.]
MANILA, MAY 20, 2013 (ABS-CBN) Two overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Taiwan have been attacked by unidentified assailants armed with baseball bats, the Philippines' top official to Taipei said Friday.
One of the victims, identified as Danilo Taperla, was attacked in the city of Kaohsiung, Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Chairman Amadeo Perez told radio dzMM.
"Nasaktan 'yung kamay niya dahil pinalo ng baseball bat. Ang gumawa nito ay 'yung mga teenager na sumasakay sa motorsiklo," Perez said.
He said another Filipino, who has yet to be named was also hit with a baseball bat in the head by attackers on board a motorcycle.
"Matagal na problema ito sa area na iyun. Mga Pilipino, Vietnamese, Indonesian at Thai ang mga binibiktima. Pero ngayon, lumalabas na Pilipino lang ang pinag-iinitan," he added.
"So far, talagang emotions are running high. Tensionado ang mga Taiwanese, galit sa mga Pilipino, galit sa kanilang gobyerno. At 'yung mga Taiwanese, kung nalaman na Pilipino ka, iirapan ka," Perez said.
A task force has been established to investigate cases of OFWs being maltreated in Taiwan, he said.
Lawyer Mario Molina, a director of MECO, is leading the task force.
Molina urged OFWs in Taiwan to inform them if they are subjected to abuse, discrimination of maltreatment.
He said all cases will be sent to Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs for action.
Perez, meanwhile, confirmed that markets and restaurants in Pingtung, Taiwan are refusing to sell food to Filipinos.
"'Yung mga restaurant, kung Pilipino ang papasok, ay ayaw serve-an ng pagkain. 'Hindi kami nagse-serve ng pagkain sa Pilipino,' sabi nila," he said.
Perez also accused Taiwanese media of twisting statements made by Philippine government officials in connection with the death of a Taiwanese fisherman.
"Ang nambubuyo roon ay media. Kahapon, paalis ako run sa opisina, in-escort ako ng pulis para makasakay sa sasakyan dahil sinasarhan ako. Halos mapukpok ako ng mga microphone nila," he said.
Ready for evacuation
He said the MECO is ready to bring home Filipinos who want to leave the island.
"Ang assurance ay galing sa ating Presidente that if necessity arises na kailangan i-evacuate ang mga kababayan natin ay ready ang gobyerno," he said.
Perez, however, said there is currently no need to evacuate Filipinos in Taiwan.
"Hindi pa naman ganoon kalala na kailangan i-evacuate ang mga Pilipino," he added.
He advised OFWs on the island to avoid going to areas hostile to Filipinos.
He said the MECO and various government departments are monitoring the situation of Filipinos in Taiwan. - reports from dzMM
(UPDATE) Phl turns down joint probe on Taiwanese fisherman's death (philstar.com) | Updated May 16, 2013 - 10:00pm 20 82 googleplus2 2
MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - The Philippines turned down today Taiwan's request of participating in the investigation into the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine Coast Guard last week.
Responding to a question on the arrival of Taiwanese investigators for a joint probe into the shooting incident, Philippine Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda (PHOTO) denied that a joint investigation of the incident had been approved.
"I'm not aware of any approval of any joint investigation," Lacierda said, adding, "As far as I know, Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima has not been made aware of the presence of the investigators."
He said there are protocols to be observed under a Mutual Legal Assistance arrangement.
On another occasion, the justice secretary told reporters today, "I don't think we can agree to a joint investigation because we're a sovereign country. We have our own processes. We have our own justice system."
She said it would be a "protocol" for the Taiwanese investigators to channel their request through the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), the Philippines' representative office in Taiwan, local television GMA NEWS quoted de Lima as saying.
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The Philippine government is already taking "preliminary steps, " by coordinating with the MECO, to send National Bureau of Investigation agents to conduct an investigation, she added.
According to Taiwan media, the Taiwan investigation team has arrived in Manila, but no officials from the Philippine government received the team members.
The shooting incident happened on May 9 at a sea area 164 nautical miles southeast of the southernmost tip of Taiwan, when Philippine Coast Guard shot dead a Taiwanese fisherman, named Hung Shih-Cheng, 65, one of four crew members of the Taiwanese fishing vessel Guang Ta Hsin 28. Moreover, the Philippine ship chased the fishing vessel for about one hour, even when the attacked fishing vessel was fleeing at full speed.
The Philippine coast guard has admitted firing at one of four Taiwanese fishing vessels. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III made an apology on Wednesday to the family of the victim and Taiwan people through his personal representative Amadeo Perez, chairman of the MECO.
FROM THE INQUIRER
Filipino workers suffer harassment in Taiwan By Yolanda Sotelo Inquirer Northern Luzon 2:11 am | Saturday, May 18th, 2013
[ISLAND ON FIRE Taiwanese Premier Jiang Yi-huah speaks during a press conference in Taipei on Wednesday where he announced Taiwan would recall its representative and discourage travel to the Philippines. AP]
DAGUPAN CITY—The Philippines’ de facto ambassador to Taiwan has advised thousands of Filipino workers there to eat at home and avoid the streets while emotions run high on the island over the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by Filipino coast guards last week.
Manila Economic and Cultural Office (Meco) Chair Amadeo Perez said after returning to Manila from Taipei late Thursday that the Philippine government has verified at least one attack, in which a Filipino was beaten with a bat.
“He was taken to hospital, and police are investigating. We are documenting the cases,” Perez said.
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou on Friday called for calm and promised to protect Filipinos on the island.
“We will continue negotiating the issue with the Philippines and I hope everyone can calmly and peacefully resolve the issue to avoid hurting bilateral ties,” Ma said while meeting international scholars in Taipei.
Ma said he had instructed relevant Taiwanese units to protect Filipinos living and working on the island to ensure they are not harmed.
Perez said Filipinos were being refused service at restaurants and supermarkets, particularly in the southern port city of Kaohsiung, where the slain fisherman, Hung Shih-cheng, 65, lived.
“Some restaurants refused to serve food to Filipinos and some supermarkets wouldn’t let Filipinos in to buy groceries. (Taiwanese glare) at Filipinos,” Perez said.
“I advised them to just buy (food and eat at home and avoid the streets),” he said.
“We have received numerous reports of harassment, particularly in Kaohsiung City, where the slain fisherman lived,” he said.
The Meco is verifying the reports, he added.
“The situation is tense. The Filipinos are afraid they might lose their jobs. I advised them to stay calm and never retaliate no matter the provocation,” Perez said.
Hundreds of Taiwanese staged protests outside the Meco office in Taipei on Thursday, burning Philippine flags and pictures of President Aquino.
Taiwan has frozen the hiring of Filipino workers, suspended high-level exchanges, economic and trade exchanges, fishery cooperation and scientific research cooperation projects, and tourist travel to the Philippines because of the killing of Hung by Philippine Coast Guard officers in a shooting in waters off Batanes on May 9.
The Taiwanese military held drills in waters near the Philippines on Thursday and yesterday to show Taiwan’s anger over the incident.
Taiwan brushed aside an apology from President Aquino as insufficient and threatened further retaliatory measures if the Philippines did not formally apologize, compensate the family of Hung, arrest and punish the killers, and start fishery talks between the two sides soon.
Perez said there were additional demands, which he did not specify before reporting to Mr. Aquino
Nearly 87,000 Filipinos work in Taiwan, 10 percent of whom are domestic workers. Perez said he may recommend the repatriation of Filipinos if the need arises.
“We will not abandon our people,” he added.
Perez said he had received information that factories had issued press statements about cutting Filipino jobs because of the killing of Hung.
He said the factories that issued the statements did not include electronic businesses that employ 25,000 Filipinos.
“We have good workers in the electronic sector. The Taiwanese cannot just fire them or their electronics sector would be paralyzed. But there are factories in other sectors that may send our workers back home,” Perez said.
Despite being a diplomat, Perez has not been spared the ire of the Taiwanese.
He said he had been refused admission at a hotel, which he did not name.
“There was a small hotel that accepted us. But they told us later that they could not accommodate us because there were many reporters outside and their guests were complaining about the noise,” he said.
He said Taiwanese journalists had been hounding him for information since the incident happened.
The circumstances behind the shooting of Hung remain in dispute, though the Philippines acknowledges that its coast guards opened fire on a Taiwanese boat on May 9.
Manila says the action was taken in self-defense to prevent the Taiwanese from ramming the Coast Guard vessel, but Taiwanese fishermen deny the ramming claim.
Both countries are investigating the incident. Fourteen Taiwanese police investigators are in Manila, and Philippine investigators will ask Taiwanese authorities for permission to inspect the fishing boat and interview the crew.
The hiring freeze has brought anxiety to Filipinos waiting to take up jobs in Taiwan.
“We are appealing and hope there will be a solution to this because we are just trying to work for our family,” said Zette Monleon, a factory worker who could not leave for her return trip to Taiwan because she was asked for additional documents, which could take weeks.
Trade between the Philippines and Taiwan is about $11 billion, with a surplus of $6.7 billion in Taiwan’s favor. With reports from AP and AFP
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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