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Rights groups, manpower agencies against labor import freeze

Rights groups, manpower agencies against labor import freeze

Taipei, May 13 (CNA) Labor rights groups and manpower agencies have voiced their opposition to the threat by Taiwan's government to suspend the importation of Philippine workers over the shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman at sea. Meriam D. Hsu, a Filipino social worker with the Taiwan International Workers' Association, told CNA on Monday that the Taiwanese government "should not target migrant workers" in the dispute because the workers are not the wrongdoers. Norman Pinson, a 25-year-old Filipino worker in Taiwan and a member of KaSaPi -- Kapulungan ng Samahang Pilipino (Association of Filipino Workers) -- said Sunday that he thought Taiwan's threat to suspend new job applications was "unfair," and he hoped that the rights of migrant workers would not be affected. Though opposed to Taiwan's threat, members of KaSaPi, established in 2003 with the help of the Taiwan International Workers' Association, launched a petition that urges the Philippine government to respond to Taiwan's demands within the 72-hour deadline. They will bring the signatures they have collected to the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, which represents the Philippines' interests in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties, before Wednesday, Hsu said. Angelo Tong, president of the Pilipino Manpower Agencies Accredited to Taiwan (PILMAT), told CNA Sunday that he hopes the case will not affect the cultural and economic relations between the Philippines and Taiwan, especially the hiring of Filipino workers in Taiwan. He called on the two sides to remain calm, hold dialogue and clarify what happened through a thorough investigation to prevent similar occurrences in the future. PILMAT is a group of licensed Philippine manpower agencies accredited by the Taiwanese government. Relations between Taiwan and the Philippines are tense after a Philippine government vessel strafed a Taiwanese fishing boat in the two countries' overlapping exclusive economic zones on May 9 and killed a 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman in the process. Taiwan is asking the Philippines to issue a formal apology, compensate the victim's family for their loss, investigate the incident and punish the perpetrators, and open fishery agreement talks with Taiwan as soon as possible. If Manila does not issue an appropriate response by midnight Tuesday, Taiwan's government said it will suspend the importation of Filipino labor, recall its representative to the Philippines and request that the Philippines' representative to Taiwan return to Manila. (By Emerson Lim and Christie Chen)


Updated : 2021-10-19 17:02 GMT+08:00