TAIWANESE TELL FILIPINO WORKERS: 'YOU ARE NOT ALONE' / NBI LEAVES FOR TAIPEI FOR COOP PROBE
 



TAIPEI, MAY 27, 2013
(INQUIRER) By Nancy C. Carvajal - The popular slogan “Hindi ka nag-iisa,” which rallied the Filipinos in their fight against the late dictator, President Ferdinand Marcos, was resurrected in Funshung Park in Taipei, on Sunday.

Taiwanese students and personnel from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs offered free food, drinks, and shirts to Filipino migrant workers who were on the park.

The t-shirts bearing the slogan “You are not alone” which obviously was meant for the Filipjino migrant workers because of its significance to the Filipinos was also translated to other languages.

Apart from the free food and drinks, a concert by Taiwanese artists was also held, which was emceed by a Filipino migrant worker who spoke about the “good life and working condition of the Filipino workers here and the proposed universal health care for all migrant workers.”

“Ngayon lang ito, sana palaging magbibigay sila ng pagkain (This is now and we just wish that they will always give food),” an OFW interviewed by the Philippine Daily Inquirer said.

Only a few of the Filipino workers had connected the slogan to the pro-democracy movement in the 1980s, but those who recognized it said “okay lang gamitin nila, basta gawin nila na tulungan kami at di kami pababayaan na maatake (It’s OK that they use the slogan for as long as they help us and do not allow us to be attacked).’’

Taiwanese nationals supportive of the Filipino migrant workers wore stickers carrying the slogan during the event, which was also covered by the local media here.

Cynthia Lee-Ling Hung, section chief of the Foreign Media Services of the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the event would show that “Taiwan gently cares for the migrant workers.”

Earlier, the mayor of Kaishung City was reported to have attended the mass at St. Christopher Church, one of the two churches in Taipei where a lot of Filipinos would congregate on Sunday.

According to Father Leonilo Mantilla, the area’s parish priest, the situation has improved and attacks against Filipino workers have stopped.

Mantilla related that during the early days of the crisis, a priest and his companions were not allowed to buy ice cream from a grocery.

“The Taiwanese refused to sell ice cream to them and hurled bad names at them and also shouted at them,” Mantilla said.

He added that a planned Santacruzan was held on Sunday as scheduled, but organizers decided to forgo with the procession.

The parish priest said the procession was held inside the parish church, instead.

NBI team to leave for Taipei soon for cooperative probe on fisherman’s death By TJ Burgonio Philippine Daily Inquirer 10:54 pm | Sunday, May 26th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines — After some hitches, agents of the National Bureau of Investigation would leave for Taiwan after all to complete their investigation of the May 9 killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by Philippine coast guards, officials said on Sunday.

Contrary to reports, Malacañang and the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (Meco) said that Taiwan did not set new conditions for the NBI’s mission in Taiwan.

“I checked that with the Secretary of Justice and the reply of Secretary Leila de Lima to me was that there were no new conditions. She had also informed me that they are just firming up several, certain details of the visit by both sides,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte (photo) said over government-run radio.

She added that the “agreed arrangement” could not be disclosed for now.

Meco chairman Amadeo Perez said Saturday that Taiwan set new conditions for the trip of eight NBI investigators to Taiwan, and these had been relayed to the Department of Justice for action.

Meco permanent representative Antonio Basilio, however, echoed Valte, and said that Taiwan was merely clarifying some protocol in the various stages of the investigation involving ballistics and forensics, among others.

“Otherwise, it looks like they already have an agreement,” Basilio said by phone. “I don’t see any more impediments [to their departure].”

Meco would wait for the response of Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice to NBI’s itinerary in Taiwan Sunday, according to Basilio.

So far, there’s no date yet for their departure. The Philippines had hoped that the investigation would shed light on the circumstances leading to Hung Shih-chen’s death and put a closure to it.

The fatal shooting of Hung Shih-chen by Philippine coast guards in a May 9 anti-poaching operation in the waters off Balintang Island in northern Philippines sparked outrage in Taiwan, and revived tension between the two countries.

While President Aquino offered an apology, Taiwan retaliated by freezing the processing of new employment contracts for Filipino workers, suspending Taiwanese travel to the Philippines and holding military drills in disputed waters.

Since the Philippines’ One-China policy prohibits joint investigation, both countries agreed on a cooperative investigation that gives their respective investigators access to witnesses and evidence.

The NBI is seeking to examine Hung’s boat, the Guang Ta Hsin 28, which Taiwanese investigators said was riddled with 45 bullet holes. It also wants to interview the boat’s surviving crew and conduct a new autopsy to determine how Hung died.

A key piece of evidence was the Philippine Coast Guard video of the incident, which De Lima said was very revealing. The Philippines initially rejected Taiwan’s request for access to the video, but relented after Taiwan declined the former’s request for legal assistance.

After Manila agreed to share the video, Taipei released the visas to the members of the NBI investigative team.

Valte said there was no timetable for the NBI investigation.

“There’s no timetable but this is the highest priority of the NBI,” she said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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