PH to look for other markets for OFWs in wake of Taiwan freeze-hire threat
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government will consider looking for alternative markets for overseas Filipino workers should Taiwan government make good its threat to freeze the hiring of new applicants to protest the death of a Taiwanese fisherman Thursday in waters off Batanes.
“It’s a government decision. But if Taiwan employers will submit contracts we will continue to verify,” said Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz when asked to comment about the Taiwan government’s reported threat to freeze the hiring of OFWs.
But Baldoz said she has not yet received any official communication from the Taiwan officials regarding the matter.
“Just news from the media in Taiwan,” she said.
She added that they are also looking for alternative markets for OFWs wishing to work in Taiwan.
“We are looking for alternative markets like Korea and Middle East,” Baldoz said.
According to reports, President Ma Ying-jeou on Saturday said Taiwan will consider sanctions against the Philippines amid widespread public outrage at Manila over the shooting of a 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman.
Taiwanese lawmakers also urged their government to freeze the hiring of Filipino workers to protest the incident.
Last Friday, PCG commandant Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena said that the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ Maritime Control Surveillance (MCS) 3001 vessel spotted Taiwanese fishing boats off Balintang at around 10:30 a.m. Thursday while on patrol.
The PCG fired warning shots at one of the vessels after it tried to ram the MCS 3001, he said. The PCG then fired directly at the boat’s machinery.
Isorena added that the PCG vessel detected the presence of two other unidentified vessels and returned to port, only later learning of the fisherman’s death from the Taipei Economic Cultural Office.
Eleven PCG and two BFAR personnel were involved in the incident.
Meanwhile, a group of local agencies deploying mainly to Taiwan factory workers and caregivers called for sobriety and diplomacy in this latest rift in Philippines-Taiwan relations.
“We sincerely hope that this incident will not affect the friendly cultural and economic relationship between Taiwan and our country. Specially, we hope that freezing of hiring of our workers should not be resorted to because both sides need each other,” said Angelo D. Tong, president of PILMAT (Pilipino Manpower Agencies Accredited to Taiwan), in a statement.
“Both sides should sit down and adopt measures to prevent similar cases in the future,” he added.
Most OFWs in Taiwan work in electronic factories or as caregivers.
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