TAIPEI-MANILA ROW: Hau urges public not to blame Filipinos for shooting

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

Wed, May 15, 2013 - Page 3

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday urged the public not to blame the Philippine Coast Guard’s killing of a Taiwanese fisherman last week on Filipino workers and visitors, adding that the city government would work to ensure the safety of such workers in Taipei.

The shooting of Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng (洪石成) in contested waters in the South China Sea has sparked public anger at the Philippines, and the nation has demanded a formal apology and compensation from Manila.

Hau yesterday reiterated his condemnation of the Philippines’ failure to meet Taiwan’s demands and take full responsibility for the incident. He added that letters had been sent to Taipei’s sister cities of Manila and Quezon to retract its invitation for them to participate in Taipei’s annual dragon boat festival next month, while suspending all city-to-city exchanges.

However, he called on the public to remain rational and refrain from taking their anger out on Philippine workers and visitors in Taiwan.

“The public should stay rational and treat Philippine workers and visitors with friendly attitudes because they are innocent. We do not want any irrational reactions to complicate Taiwan’s handling of the incident,” he said.

Hau’s comments came amid allegations that Filipino workers are being treated viciously by Taiwanese in the wake of the incident.

Netizens shared a message yesterday on Facebook from the Trans Asia Sisters Association that called on Taiwanese not to shift the blame on to Philippine citizens after some Filipino workers said that fellow workers were reportedly being beaten or shouted at on the street in many parts of the nation.

Hau said the Taipei Police Department would enhance patrols at locations where Filipinos gather, such as the Taipei Railway Station and Zhongshan N Road, to ensure their safety. The city’s Department of Labor Affairs will also assist any worker who files a complaint.