Hundreds of fishermen from across the country yesterday staged a protest outside the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taipei, demanding that the Philippines apologize for the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman.
“Admit the mistake! Apologize! We want justice!” the fishermen, representing more than 30 fishermen’s associations across the country, shouted as they threw eggs at the building where the MECO is located amid heavy rain.
“This is very upsetting. The Philippines must pay for what they did,” National Fishermen’s Association Taiwan general manager Lin Chi-chang (林啟滄) told the crowd. “We will not stop until we receive a positive response to our demands from the Philippines.”
“A fisherman was killed. The Philippines must say something,” he added.
Tsai Tien-yu (蔡天裕), mayor of Pingtung County’s Liouciou Township (琉球) where the fisherman was from, said that, whatever the reason, shooting an unarmed fisherman cannot be justified.
“The killing happened on Thursday last week, but the Philippines has refused to admit its mistake and apologize. Everyone in this country must stand united,” he said.
A MECO official, Sergio Eulogio, came out from the heavily guarded building to receive a letter from the protesters. However, he quickly had to retreat into the building after several protesters rushed toward him.
Unhappy with Eulogio’s brief appearance, the protesters burned several Philippine flags.
Tsai Fu-jung (蔡富榮), general manager of Taitung County’s Chenggong District Fishermen’s Association, said that last week’s incident was not the first time that a Taiwanese fisherman had been killed by Philippine government personnel.
“Seven years ago, two brothers from Taitung County were also shot by Philippine law enforcement. One was severely injured, while the other died,” Tsai Fu-jung said. “To this day, the Philippines has not said anything about it.”
While fishermen from Hsinchu City have never fallen victim to Philippine government agencies, Hsinchu District Fishermen’s Association general manager Tung Chin-chieh (童錦杰) said that fishermen from Hsinchu had joined the protest to support their fellow fishermen.
“Whatever happens, law enforcement agencies should never use firearms against unarmed fishermen. It’s clear that killing — not expelling — was their aim,” Tung said.
Many passersby stopped to show their support for the fishermen.
Although the protest targeted the actions of the Philippine Coast Guard, it also stirred nationalistic sentiment, with some passersby shouting “expel Filipino workers.”
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Su Ching-chuan (蘇清泉) called the Philippines “a gangster” and “a savage country.”
Prior to the protest, the fishermen also went to the legislature, where they were received by Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and the KMT caucus, who condemned the Philippines and voiced their support for government action.
Earlier in the day, a small group of Taipei City councilors from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and pro-independence organizations held a protest in front of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office.
Meanwhile, both DPP and KMT lawmakers showed their concern about the shooting at a meeting of the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee, where Coast Guard Administration Minister Wang Jinn-wang (王進旺) made a special presentation on the issue.
Responding to the lawmakers’ questions, Wang said that the Coast Guard would consider extending its temporary enforcement line to better protect fishermen’s rights.
EIGHT-YEAR WINDOW: Avril Haines said that Beijing is closely watching the Russian invasion of Ukraine, although Moscow’s actions have not sped up Beijing’s timeline The threat posed by China to Taiwan until 2030 is “critical,” US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said on Tuesday while testifying on worldwide threats at a hearing of the US Senate Committee on Armed Services. “I think it’s fair to say that it’s critical, or acute,” Haines said when asked by US Senator Josh Hawley if she viewed the threat facing Taiwan to be acute from now until 2030. “It’s our view that they [China] are working hard to effectively put themselves into a position in which their military is capable of taking Taiwan over our intervention,” she said, without
NO CONSENSUS YET: Local governments and the CECC have agreed to change the ‘3+4’ self-isolation policy, but are still mulling what to replace it with The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) and local governments have agreed to ease restrictions on close contacts of COVID-19 cases, although the details are still being discussed, the center said yesterday. The discussions follow Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Saturday approving a proposal to shorten the “3+4” policy — three days of home isolation followed by four days of self-disease prevention — for close contacts who have received booster doses. “We did not reach a consensus on how to revise the current restrictions, but we all agreed that the administrative burden must be reduced and the intensity of restrictions must be eased,
OPPOSING CHINESE ‘HOSTILITY’: The bill orders the state secretary to create a plan to regain observer status for Taiwan, saying Taipei is a model contributor to world health US President Joe Biden on Friday signed a bill into law to help Taiwan regain observer status at the World Health Assembly (WHA), demonstrating Washington’s support for Taiwan’s international participation. Friday was the deadline for Biden to sign the bill (S.812), which directs “the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to regain observer status for Taiwan in the World Health Organization (WHO), and for other purposes.” The 75th WHA, the decisionmaking body of the WHO, is scheduled to meet in Geneva, Switzerland, from Sunday next week to May 28. The bill, introduced by US Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the US Senate
‘DAMOCLES SWORD’: An Italian missionary said the arrest of cardinal Zen is a blow for the church in Hong Kong, China and the world, signaling great danger ahead China yesterday defended the arrest of a 90-year-old Catholic cardinal under Hong Kong’s National Security Law, a move that triggered international outrage and deepened concerns over Beijing’s crackdown on freedoms in the territory. Retired cardinal Joseph Zen (陳日君), one of the most senior Catholic clerics in Asia, was among a group of veteran democracy advocates arrested on Wednesday for “colluding with foreign forces.” Pop singer Denise Ho (何韻詩), veteran barrister Margaret Ng (吳靄儀) and cultural studies academic Hui Po-keung (許寶強) were also arrested, the latter as he attempted to fly to Europe to take up an academic post. Cyd Ho (何秀蘭), a democracy