5:35 pm | Tuesday, August 13th, 2013
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada on Tuesday lauded Taiwan’s decision to lift sanctions it earlier imposed against the Philippines, saying this would pave the way for the resumption of bilateral ties on trade, investments, and hiring of overseas Filipino workers.
“This resumption of productive relations between the two governments definitely results to mutual benefits. It is especially a very positive development for our OFWs,” Estrada, chairman of the Senate committee on labor, said in a statement.
The reported lifting of sanctions came after the National Bureau of Investigation recommended the filing of charges against Coast Guard personnel involved in the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman in an encounter last May 9.
The Philippines through Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) chairman Amadeo Perez Jr. also issued an apology to the family of 65-year old fisherman Hung Shih Cheng who was killed during the encounter.
Estrada pointed out information showing that Taiwan is among the top destinations of OFWs and is host to some 80,000 to 100,000 Filipino workers. Statistics also showed that the deployment of workers in Taiwan is estimated at 40,000 every year.
He then urged Philippine officials, particularly the MECO, to beef up steps aimed at further strengthening and normalizing the two governments’ relations.
Tension rose, he noted, during the three months that the issue was being addressed and investigated, and actual incidents of harassment against Filipinos in Taiwan were recorded.
The senator also recalled that a misunderstanding between the two governments ensued in 2011 after the Philippines deported to China the 14 Taiwanese earlier arrested along with 10 Chinese nationals all of whom were accused in an international scam targeting citizens of mainland China and were facing criminal charges in that country.
The 2011 incident, Estrada said, adversely affected the deployment of OFWs to Taiwan as well as other areas of relations between the two governments.
“We must find ways to more effectively and efficiently manage pressing concerns between Taiwan and the Philippines and prevent or at least mitigate adverse effects on our workers and other areas of relations,” he said.
“For this purpose, it could be a good move if the MECO comes up with its counterpart Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) a bilateral mechanisms set-up which should be readily operational if and when any other such concern arises in the future,” the senator added.
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