TAIWAN: PHILIPPINES INSINCERE / PH READY TO EVACUATE OFWS IN TAIWAN


[Empty handed.
Chen Wen Chi, Director of the Department of International and Cross Strait Legal Affairs, Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice, shows the letter of Resident Representative Antonio Basillo of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office to Benjamin Ho of Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claiming a joint investigation inviting Taiwanese authority to; participate in a joint probe during a press conference in Makati City. DANNY PATA Empty handed. Chen Wen Chi, Director of the Department of International and Cross Strait Legal Affairs, Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice, shows the letter of Resident Representative Antonio Basillo of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office to Benjamin Ho of Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claiming a joint investigation inviting Taiwanese authority to; participate in a joint probe during a press conference in Makati City. DANNY PATA]

MANILA, MAY 20, 2013
(MANILA STANDARD) By Joyce Pangco Panares - Taiwanese investigators left the Philippines on Saturday, expressing dissatisfaction with Manila’s cooperation in probing the shooting death of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine coast guard.

In a statement, investigating team leader Chen Wen-chi, director of Taiwan’s Department of International and Cross-strait Legal Affairs, said that the evidence showed that the May 9 shooting was intentional.

It also said Philippine law enforcers ignored international protocol, including warning the Taiwanese vessel.

The investigators said they decided to leave because of a lack of sincerity and cooperation by the Philippines.

The 14-man team that arrived Thursday reiterated a call for a joint investigation.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, however, has rejected the call, and instead urged Taiwan to wait for the Philippines to finish its “fair, thorough and expeditious probe.”

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte reiterated De Lima’s statement, saying that a joint investigation with Taiwan was “not possible.”

“We have our own investigation, which is ongoing, and because of that we will not comment on the details (released by the Taiwanese probe team),” she said.

“We will defer to the progress updates that are being given by the NBI.”

But Chen said that evidence points to the shooting, which killed 65-year old fisherman Hung Shih-chen, was “intentional.”

“By combining the evidences, it clearly shows that the Philippine law enforcers were intentionally shooting the Guang Ta Hsin 28 crew members, which indicates their intent of murder,” Chen said.

“This kind of behavior should not be conducted by a civilized country. We believe that the Philippine government would never allow for this kind of act to be done to its people,” she added.

Chen claimed that based on the video recorded by the Taiwanese fishing vessel, the incident “occurred within the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of China and not in the Philippine territorial waters.”

This was in contrast to the statement of Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, who reported that the incident happened 48 nautical miles east of Balintang Channel, which is within Philippine territory.

Chen added that based on the forensic report, Hung died from a single gunshot wound on the neck from a high speed or powerful gun.

Based on the bullets collected from the fishing vessel, the ammunitions used were 7.62 mm caliber shots, most likely coming from an M14 rifle, M240, or M60 machine guns. The vessel was also shot by a total of 45 bullets.

“Most of those 45 bullets were shot at cockpit, in which the four crew members were hiding,” Chen said, belying an earlier Coast Guard statement that they only fired at the vessel’s engine portion.

Chen said slugs were not found on the surface of the fishing vessel, “thus omitting the possibility that Guang Ta Hsin 28 was trying to ram the Philippine law enforcement vessel which resulted in the defensive measure taken by the latter.”

She also urged the Aquino administration to present evidence to back its claim that the victim was at fault during the May 9 incident.

Failing to do so, she added, would mean that Manila was “purposely concealing the offense of their officials.”

Chen said the Taiwanese government will welcome any move from the Philippines to send a team to Taiwan to join the investigation “provided that they also follow appropriate procedure.”

“The Philippine government has tried to prolong and delay our requests for a joint investigation. We feel discontent on the lack on sincerity and credibility displayed by the Philippine side in cooperating with us team. For this very reason, all the members of the Taiwan investigation has decided to go back to Taiwan immediately.”

Chen also disputed Manila’s claim that the request for joint investigation did not follow protocol, saying that the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Makati formally issued two letters to request legal assistance for the probe.

“In the said letters, Taiwan government requests the Philippine government to provide assistance in the collection and inspection of evidence; in interrogating the perpetrators; and in providing the investigation reports,” Chen said.

She added that Manila Economic and Cultural Office resident representative Antonio Basilio has “stated publicly and clearly that the Philippine side will conduct joint investigation with its Taiwan counterpart.”

“We will invite Taiwan authorities to participate in the investigation process,” Basilio wrote in his May 10 letter to Benjamin Ho, director general of Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Meanwhile, Valte said the Palace was saddened by the reported mauling of an overseas Filipino worker in Taiwan amid widespread anger over the killing of the Taiwanese fisherman.

“Ito po ‘yung ayaw nating mangyari na merong mga madamay na ating mga kababayan (This is what we do not want to happen that innocent Filipinos will be implicated), which is why we’ve repeatedly made the call for calm and that our Filipino overseas workers in Taiwan have nothing to do with — they are there to work, they are not there to make trouble.”

Valte said the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) has already formed a team to monitor instances such as the reported mauling of an OFW and once verified, the report will be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan for them to conduct investigation on the matter.

In a related development, rights advocacy groups urged the public to refrain from verbally or physically attacking Filipinos living in Taiwan.

“It’s not just Filipinos; all immigrants from Southeast Asia in the country would feel threatened when walking on the streets,” TransAsia Sisterhood Taiwan executive secretary Ly Vuoch-heang, an immigrant from Cambodia, told a news conference in Taipei.

“I’ve not been attacked, because I’m from Cambodia, but I don’t feel comfortable when people keep asking me whether I’m from the Philippines when I’m just going to buy lunch,” she said.

While the two countries have not been successful in reaching an agreement in dealing with the aftermath, a seemingly anti-Philippine sentiment has been developing among the public in Taiwan. Some communities have held rallies saying that they do not welcome Filipinos, vendors in a market in Changhua County posted signs saying that they would not conduct business with Filipinos.

“It’s not right to vent anger you may feel toward the Philippine government on Filipino migrant workers — when you even think about attacking these hard workers, please think of their contribution to Taiwan’s economy,” Taiwan International Workers’ Association policy researcher Chen Hsiu-lien said.

Chen accused President Ma Ying-jeou (???) of attempting to encourage people to vent their anger on Filipino workers as he has become a target of criticism for mishandling of the incident, “otherwise he would not have waited until now to ask people not to do so.” With AP, PNA

FROM ABS-CBN

PH ready to evacuate Pinoys in Taiwan ABS-CBNnews.com Posted at 05/19/2013 7:09 PM | Updated as of 05/19/2013 7:09 PM

MECO confirms 2 OFWs attacked there

MANILA - The Philippine government is ready to evacuate Filipinos in Taiwan in case tensions and attacks further escalate.

Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) chairman Amadeo Perez Jr. told the families here not to worry.

According to Perez, there is already a specific instruction from President Benigno Aquino III to primarily focus on the welfare of the Filipinos and a task force has been created in this regard.

This comes after two overseas Filipino workers were injured there by Taiwanese nationals.

The attacks were made after a Taiwanese fisherman was shot dead in Philippine waters. Malacanang has already sent its apologies, although the Taiwan government still wants more sanctions.

“The first victim, we have a video report in the office. The second one was hit by a baseball bat in the face,” Perez told ANC.

He said the first victim was identified as a certain Danilo Paterla. The second victim, supposedly hit by teenagers who have been victimizing other foreigners in the past, has yet to be named.

Philippine officials they are already attending to the needs of the two Filipinos.

Perez advised Filipinos in Taiwan to remain indoors after work and avoid being in public places.

However, he also noted that the attacks have eased following calls from Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou on nationals not to vent their ire on Filipinos.

Perez earlier told radio dzMM that the government would wait for tempers to cool before settling the dispute.

"We are waiting for the right time because I was told by the secretary-general for Asian affairs, we should wait for the temperature in Taiwan to cool," Perez said.

PH waiting for Taiwan anger to cool Agence France-Presse Posted at 05/19/2013 3:14 PM | Updated as of 05/19/2013 3:14 PM

MANILA - The Philippines is waiting for tempers in Taiwan to cool before settling the dispute over a shot Taiwanese fisherman, the head of an office in charge of relations said Sunday.

Issues like Manila's "one-China" policy and comments by Taiwanese investigators branding the incident as murder have complicated the situation, said Amadeo Perez, chairman of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office.

"We are waiting for the right time because I was told by the secretary-general for Asian affairs, we should wait for the temperature in Taiwan to cool," Perez said in an interview with DZMM radio.

"The Taiwanese are highly emotional and... the media in Taiwan is heating things up so tempers are running high."

Anger has grown in Taiwan after a 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman was shot dead on May 9 by the Philippine coastguard.

Taiwan has imposed sanctions against the Philippines, banning the entry of any more workers, recalling its de facto envoy and holding a military exercise in waters near the northern Philippines last week.

The coastguard said the fishing vessel had intruded into Philippine waters and tried to ram their own patrol boat.

A Taiwan investigative team which visited the country last week described the shooting as "murder", but Perez said the Taiwanese had not coordinated with local authorities before making the accusation.

Perez, whose office is in charge of relations in the absence of diplomatic ties, said lines of communication between his agency and the Taiwanese foreign ministry were still active despite the controversy.

He said the Philippine Justice Department was still studying a request for a joint investigation when the Taiwanese made their allegations this weekend.

The investigators' remarks "will further inflame the people of Taiwan", he warned.

Perez also said Taiwan wanted Philippine President Benigno Aquino personally to write a letter of apology, but this could be considered a violation of the country's one-China policy -- recognising Beijing rather than Taipei as the government of China.

Last week Aquino sent Perez to Taiwan to convey his apologies but Taiwan rejected the message.

Perez also thanked Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou for his promise to protect the 87,000 Filipinos working in Taiwan after a Filipino worker there was attacked with a baseball bat amid public fury.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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