Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay has called on Taiwanese authorities not to pass its displeasure with Manila on to impoverished Filipino workers.
Binay’s statement was issued amid a diplomatic row between the two countries over a deportation incident in which 14 Taiwanese suspects involved in a cross-border fraud scheme were handed over to China on Feb. 2, despite strong protests from Taipei.
The government has taken several retaliatory measures in the wake of the incident, including the tightening of screening procedures for Filipino workers interested in working in Taiwan.
Binay expressed the hope that the “misunderstanding” between the two sides could be solved quickly.
He called on Taipei not to take revenge on Filipino workers, saying that they were only hardworking people who are trying to make a living.
Binay, who also serves as a presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers, said that if the situation related to Filipino workers deteriorated, the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment would have to implement contingency measures.
THOUSANDS OF JOBS
Yen Teh-shun (顏德順), the head of an association of certified Filipino labor brokers, said the measure taken by Taiwan to lengthen the screening process of Filipino workers to four months will prevent 5,000 migrant workers from starting jobs in Taiwan this month alone.
Yen said that about 78,000 Filipinos are currently working in Taiwan, with 50,000 working in electronics companies and the remaining employed as caregivers or maids.
They remit about US$600 million back to the Philippines every year and if their employment situation in Taiwan deteriorates, the nation’s economy would be affected, he said.