Companies voice support for sanctions

PUNITIVE MEASURES::Although the ban on hiring Filipino workers could affect a number of technology firms, industry leaders said they were willing to bear the cost

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Sat, May 18, 2013 - Page 13

Business leaders from a number of different sectors yesterday threw their support behind the government’s punitive measures against the Philippines, saying any potential losses were bearable.

Chinese National Federation of Industries (全國工總) chairman Rock Hsu (許勝雄) said the matter involves more than an apology and the government should explain the incident to international media so that the world could better understand Taiwan’s situation.

“We cannot accept the brutal shooting of an unarmed Taiwanese boat by Philippine coast guards,” Hsu told reporters after a courtesy call on Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺). “The nation’s dignity is at stake and the industry would side with the government regardless of the cost.”

Hsu, whose Kinpo Group (金仁寶集團) includes subsidiaries such as laptop computer maker Compal Electronics Co (仁寶集團), said the government could do more to uphold the nation’s integrity and protect its citizens.

The two sides should work out an agreement to end long-standing fishery disputes as the indefinite moratorium on hiring Filipino workers would affect technology firms the most, Hsu said.

General Chamber of Commerce (全國商總) chairman Lawrence Chang (張平沼) also offered his own firms’ support to the government, no matter how long the situation lasts.

Chang, who owns a securities brokerage and an electronics company that employees about 500 foreign workers, including 150 from the Philippines, said he has asked the firms’ human resources department to stop recruiting Filipino workers and not to renew any contracts for existing ones.

“Although in general Philippine workers show better English ability, workers from Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand can perform similar duties after a little training,” Chang said by telephone.

Taiwan also has fishery disputes with Japan, yet Taiwanese fishing vessels have never been attacked by the Japanese authorities, Chang said, adding that the government should stand firm and make the Philippine government show more respect for human life.

Preston Chen (陳武雄), chairman of the Petrochemical Association of Taiwan (台灣石化公會), voiced indignation at the killing of 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng (洪石成) and urged all sectors to stand behind the government’s measures.

The moratorium on hiring Philippine workers would have no impact on the petrochemical industry, which employs few foreign workers, Chen said.

This and other sanctions would have some negative impact, but the costs are bearable, National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (中小企業協會) vice chairman David Chang (張大為) said.

“We are disappointed by the Philippines’ handling of this tragedy and support the government 100 percent,” David Chang said.

Four domestic banks maintain offices in the Philippines, with exposures totaling NT$14.6 billion (US$488.19 million), the Financial Supervisory Commission said on Thursday, adding it has not heard any reports of operation disruptions.

The four banks are Cathay United Commercial Bank (國泰世華銀行), Chinatrust Commercial Bank (中信銀行), Mega International Commercial Bank (兆豐銀行) and Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合庫銀行), which have combined assets in the Philippines of NT$30.9 billion (US$1 billion), the commission said.