Wed, May 29, 2013 - Page 3 News List

MOFA warns against volunteering in Philippines

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will discourage students from volunteering in the Philippines in summer if the diplomatic row with Manila over the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman is not resolved by then, a ministry official said yesterday.

Taiwan has since May 15 imposed 11 sanctions on the Philippines after expressing dissatisfaction with Manila’s response to its four demands: a formal apology, compensation, punishment of the guilty officers and fishery talks.

Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) has said that the sanctions will remain in place as long as it takes unless the four demands are met.

Wu Rong-chuan (吳榮泉), deputy chairman of the ministry’s Non-governmental Organization (NGO) Affairs Committee, told a routine press briefing yesterday that the ministry hoped the NGOs and students would support the government’s efforts and suspend exchanges with the Philippines to show the public’s dissatisfaction with its handling of the issue.

Wu said about 80 percent of 300 groups of college students travel to countries in Southeast Asia to participate in volunteer services during summer vacation, mostly in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Nepal, and some in the Philippines.

If the NGOs insist on carrying out their plans despite the sanctions, the ministry may cancel its financial assistance, Wu said.

Separately, the World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce decided on Wednesday last week to call off a plan to donate 400 tonnes of rice to the Philippines because of the spat. The donation was scheduled to be delivered to the Philippines on June 12.

In related developments, Chot Reyes, head coach of the Philippine national basketball team, wrote on his Facebook page on Monday that Taiwan had informed him that his team would not be invited to this year’s William Jones Cup International Basketball Tournament, which will take place in New Taipei City (新北市) from July 6 to July 14.

Chinese Taipei Basketball Association secretary-general Lee Yi-chung (李一中) yesterday confirmed that the Philippines would not be invited to the tournament, in line with the official sanctions on Manila.

The association will invite seven foreign teams to join two Taiwanese teams in this year’s tournament, Lee said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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