OFW group slams Palace’s diplomatic faux pas in row with Taiwan

Global alliance of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) Migrante International today criticized the Aquino administration’s “lack of political savvy and indiscretion that has caused the diplomatic row with Taiwan.”

The Republic of China (Taiwan) has expressed displeasure with Philippine authorities over the deportation of 14 Taiwanese nationals to mainland China, despite protests from Taipei which said that they should be sent back to Taiwan instead.

According to Migrante International Garry Martinez, “We advise our officials to please always, always think first of how their moves will affect Filipino nationals. Our OFWs are the ones who are bearing the brunt of their blunders and foul-ups.”

The Taiwanese government, through Taipei’s de facto ambassador to Manila Donald C. T. Lee, has already said that because of the diplomatic insult, the rights and well-being of some 80,000 OFWs in Taiwan might be affected.

Martinez said that OFWs in Taiwan have already conveyed their fear of a public backlash especially since the incident is presently a hot topic in local television talk shows. “They are concerned because they say that there are insinuations from the Taiwanese public calling on their government stop the deployment of Filipinos,” said Martinez.

Martinez said that this is highly possible since Taiwan had already imposed such a freeze after the Philippine government failed to give proper diplomatic recognition to Taiwan’s Head of the Council of Labor Affairs when he visited some time ago.

“We are also very much concerned of the possible negative effects of this faux pas on our OFWs who are already there. The Aquino government should immediately do damage control,” he said.

The migrant leader said that this is not the first time that the Aquino administration has placed the lives and welfare of OFWs in jeopardy over a major diplomatic blunder.

OFWs in Hong Kong had also expressed fears of a public backlash due to the unorganized handling and crisis management of local authorities and Palace officials during and in the wake of the Manila hostage tragedy in 2010. “Sa mga kasong tulad nito, ang mga OFW natin ang napapahamak sa kapalpakan ng gobyerno.” ###