TAIPEI—After badmouthing and hitting them with baseball bats two weeks ago, Taiwanese on Sunday tried to tell Filipino migrant workers they didn’t really mean to hurt them and that, in fact, they cared about them.
To show they really did, they threw a concert in a park here for the migrants and offered them free food and drinks and T-shirts bearing a slogan that they thought the Filipinos were familiar with: “You’re not alone.”
Well, not all, as most Filipinos know the slogan in their own language: “Hindi ka nag-iisa.”
It is language from the Filipinos’ struggle against the oppressive rule of dictator Ferdinand Marcos and it refers to the continuation of that struggle after the assassination in 1983 of opposition leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., father of President Aquino.
But those who recognized the slogan were glad to receive the
T-shirts and more so the food and drinks from Taiwanese students and employees of Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs who sought to ease the Filipinos’ fears and assure them that they were safe on the island.
Three Filipino migrant workers were attacked on the streets of Taiwan two weeks ago as Taiwanese exploded in anger over the fatal shooting of Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-chen, 65, by Filipino coast guards in overlapping Taiwanese and Philippine waters.
One migrant worker, identified as Joey de Leon, was hit with a baseball bat. His attackers later apologized and paid him P164,000 in compensation.
OK with Filipinos
In the park on Sunday, Filipinos said they approved of the use of the slogan as long as the Taiwanese government protected them.
Taiwanese artists peformed for the Filipinos during the concert and local residents came to the park wearing armbands marked with the slogan to show that they, too, cared about the migrant workers.
“This never happened before. We hope they will always give us food,” a migrant worker said in an interview with the Inquirer.
Cynthia Lee-ling Hung, chief of the foreign correspondents section of the press office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the event was intended to show “Taiwan gently cares for the migrant workers.”
Earlier, the mayor of Kaishung City was reported as being seen at Mass held at St. Christopher Church, one of two churches in Taipei attended by Filipino migrant workers.
Fr. Leonilo Mantilla, St. Christopher parish priest, said the situation had improved and no more attacks on Filipinos were reported in recent days.
Early in the crisis, he said, a priest and his companions were turned away when they tried to buy ice cream from a grocery store in Taipei.
“The Taiwanese refused to sell ice cream to them and shouted at them, calling them bad names,” he said.
Mantilla said a santacruzan was held in the parish on Sunday but without the traditional procession of queens.
“Due to the situation, though it had calmed down, we deemed it safe not to have the procession and just held a march inside the church,” Mantilla said.
Originally posted: 8:16 pm | Sunday, May 26th, 2013