PH thanks Taiwan for call to citizens not to harm Filipino workers
MANILA, Philippines — In a sign of easing tensions, President Benigno Aquino III’s expression of gratitude to Taiwan when it urged its citizens not to harm Filipinos was received well by the Taiwanese leaders, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
After talking with his counterparts in Taiwan, Amadeo Perez, chair of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (Meco), on Wednesday relayed the positive feedback to Abigail Valte, deputy presidential spokesperson.
“This was received well by the Taiwanese side, and they said that they will ensure that no harm will come to our citizens there. That’s good news,’’ Valte said in a briefing. “Based on what we’ve seen so far, it was easing a bit.’’
The President told reporters Tuesday that he was thankful to the Taiwanese leaders for their call to their nationals not to mistreat Filipino workers.
Tension between the Philippines and Taiwan has been running high over the fatal shooting of Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shi-chen by Philippine Coast Guard personnel in the waters off Balintang Channel in northern Philippines on May 9.
Taipei froze the hiring of new Filipino workers, expelled Manila’s envoy, suspended the travel of Taiwanese to the Philippines, and conducted military drills in disputed waters in a flurry of sanctions on Manila, and Taiwanese youngsters attacked Filipino workers.
After quibbling over joint investigation, both Manila and Taipei agreed to mount a cooperative investigation entailing an inspection of their respective vessels, helping defuse the tension.
Valte said the National Bureau of Investigation was looking into all angles as part of its exhaustive investigation of the killing. She could not say if the government investigators would get a chance to talk with the surviving crew members of the Taiwanese fishing boat.
“The investigation is very exhaustive and they’re looking at all factors that may be contributory, that may have any particular impact on the incident itself,’’ she said. “In the interest of thoroughness, any investigation would entail looking at the vessel itself.’’
Valte also said the Philippines would have to look for other markets following the cancellation of tours from Taipei to Manila.
“I understand that the DOT (Department of Tourism) will concentrate on other markets or shift their focus. Of course, we’re hoping also that this will come to pass and that, moving forward, there will be resolutions to the ongoing tension,’’ she said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.