Gov’t urged to protect OFWs in Taiwan

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MANILA, May 20, 2013— A Catholic bishop urged the Aquino administration to ensure the protection of Filipino workers amid reports of anger by some Taiwanese nationals over the killing of their compatriot in disputed waters. 

Maasin Bishop Precioso Cantillas said the welfare of the Filipinos in Taiwan should be given attention before tensions further escalate. 

“The government has the duty to protect its citizens from possible harm,” said Cantillas, who heads the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI).

Philippine officials have advised thousands of Filipino workers in Taiwan to take a precautionary measure by remaining indoors or limiting their outdoor activities. 

The government, they also said, is ready to evacuate Filipinos in case things worsen. 

Fr. Edwin Corros, ECMI executive secretary, said it is now up to the Filipinos whether they want to evacuate the area this early. 

“The overseas Filipino workers know better when to stay or go home. Just like what happened in the past, they are the ones who decide,” Corros said. 

The priest also called on the OFWs to document and report to the Philippine government attacks against them. 

Authorities from the Philippine Coast Guard shot a Taiwanese fisherman when the vessel he was riding allegedly tried to ram their ship in waters off Batanes. 

The PCG claimed it was self-defense but Taiwanese officials accused them of not following procedures of warning and violating other international laws. (CBCPNews)

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