Angara sees double-whammy effect of Libya unrest to PH

February 23, 2011 11:58 pm 

MANILA, Feb. 23 – Senator Edgardo Angara expressed on Wednesday fear that the growing violence in Libya would not only affect the overseas Filipino workers but the Philippines as a whole since Libya is the principal source of crude oil in the Middle East.

”That’s double whammy for us. High price of crude and we’re dependent on oil importation and, second, we have over a million Filipinos working in the Middle East and Libya pays higher salary,” Angara said.

Angara said due to ongoing unrest in Libya, other oil-producing countries have also increased their prices.

”We are affected in terms of crude oil price which is rising and in terms of employment,” Angara further explained.

Aside from problem in the Middle East, Angara also sees the country’s problem with Taiwan as another major concerns for the OFWs.

”Of course, it will affect our 70,000 OFWs who are earning very good pay in Taiwan,” Angara said.

Angara said the Taiwan row, as the result of the deportation of 14 Taiwanese to mainland China, would also affect around a hundred scholars in Taiwanese universities who are mostly in technological courses.

”It will affect our agricultural cooperation because they’ve been helping us in Agusan in growing corn and other commodities. They have a very advanced agricultural technology,” Angara said.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile agreed with Angara that the growing violence in the Middle East will affect and disrupt the work of thousands of Filipinos working in Libya.

”To that extent, it will have an effect on us, and, of course, what’s going on in the Middle East will trigger an escalation of the price of crude and that will affect us,” Enrile said.

On the Taiwan problem, Enrile urged the Philippine government to respect the Taiwan’s position to insist on asking the Philippines’ apology for deporting the 14 Taiwanese to Beijing instead of Taiwan, which is considered a renegade province of China.

”We are to look at their complaint and see if, indeed, there is a basis for those complaints. Find out what we could do to repair them,” Enrile said.

Meanwhile, Senator Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero has summoned officials of three agencies involved in the deportation of 14 Taiwanese nationals to China for full factual reports following strong protests by Taiwan that could harm economic ties and employment of more than 100,000 Filipinos there.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, has asked officials of the Department of Justice, Bureau of Immigration and the National Bureau of Investigation to submit to his office a comprehensive report on the events and proceedings surrounding the deportation of 14 Taiwanese nationals on February 2.

Last December, the 14 were arrested, along with 10 Chinese nationals, by Philippine authorities and the Interpol for allegedly operating an international fraud syndicate that has swindled mainlanders from China of some $ 20 million.

“As chairman of the justice committee, I am requiring these agencies to explain why Taiwan has vividly raised those three issues surrounding the deportation snafu. I will summon them to an inquiry at the Senate if I find their explanations unsatisfactory," Escudero said.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou has strongly condemned the deportation of their nationals to China, citing what he called grave mistakes the Philippines has committed in handling the deportation issue. (PNA)

DCT/jfm

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