President urges people to treat Filipino workers rationally

Taipei, May 16 (CNA) Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou on Thursday urged Taiwanese people not to vent their anger about the Philippines' killing of a Taiwanese fisherman on Filipino workers living in the country because he said the government of the Philippines is the one who should be held responsible. Ma said on his Facebook page that he was unwilling to see conflict occur between people from the two countries and that Taiwanese people should treat Filipino workers rationally. Just as the Taiwanese fishermen were trying to make a living and support their families, the migrant workers from the Philippines were doing the same thing in the island, Ma said. Instead of involving Filipinos in the matter, Taiwanese should put themselves in other people's shoes and be rational, he said. Taiwan on Wednesday imposed two waves of sanctions on the Philippines and it will continue its firm stance to pressure the Southeast Asian country to respond to Taiwan's requests, Ma said. The Council of Labor Affairs echoed the president's words and said Taiwanese people should show the spirit of democracy and not resort to irrational acts of violence when dealing with Filipino workers. Migrant workers and their employers could dial the council's 1995 hotline for further assistance regarding the issue, it said. Following the incident in which a 65-year-old fisherman Hung Shih-cheng was shot dead by the Philippines Coast Guard, anti-Filipino sentiment has spread throughout the island with some stores posting notices refusing to sell products to Filipinos. And there have been reports of people beating and discriminating against Filipinos. Taiwan has frozen the processing of work permits for Filipino migrant workers Wednesday as part of sanctions imposed against the country. The punitive measure will not immediately affect the some 88,000 Filipino migrants working in Taiwan, the council said. But the approximately 3,000 applications for work permits Taiwan receives from the Philippines each month will not be processed, it said. (By Kelven Huang, Hsu Chih-wei and Maia Huang)