TAIPEI-MANILA ROW: Philippine office closes doors amid row

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Thu, May 16, 2013 - Page 3

Amid an escalating row between Taipei and Manila over the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by Philippine Coast Guard personnel, the Philippines’ representative office in Taiwan, the Manila Economic and Culture Office in Taipei, was closed yesterday.

The office, which serves about 87,000 Filipinos in Taiwan, closed its services to Philippine expatriates and Taiwanese visa-seekers without prior announcement.

It remained unclear for how long the office will be suspended from normal operation.Because the Philippines failed to respond to the demands made by Taiwan regarding the incident in a way deemed acceptable to the government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday demanded that Manila Economic and Cultural Office Managing Director Antonio Basilio leave Taiwan.

Ministry spokesperson Anna Kao (高安) said the recall of Representative to the Philippines Raymond Wang (王樂生) and expulsion of Basilio would not hinder a planned joint investigation into the incident.

A group of 14 prosecutors, judicial personnel and legal experts from six government agencies are due to leave for the Philippines today to begin a joint investigation.