(Leadall) Palace appeals to Taiwan not to involve Filipinos there

May 15, 2013 10:38 pm 

MANILA, May 15 — Malacanang on Wednesday appealed to the Taiwanese not to involve Filipinos who are in Taiwan in connection with the incident involving Taiwanese fishing vessels and the Philippine Coast Guard, which led to the death of a fisherman.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda, in a press briefing, said they are still confirming or validating from the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) the reported maltreatment against Filipino citizens in Taiwan.

"We appeal to the people of Taiwan, if the reports are true, not to involve our Filipino nationals there. We appeal for calm. We appeal for sobriety on this unfortunate incident. Let us not involve our Filipino compatriots there. They are there working and they are there working for an honest living," he said.

Lacierda also asked the Taiwanese government to "revisit" its decision on the reported suspension or freezing the work permit applications of oversea Filipino workers (OFWs) in their country.

"We hope that they (Taiwanese government) will revisit their decision. But, nonetheless, the Philippine government is preparing for the contingencies," he said.m

President Benigno Aquino III has appointed MECO Chairman Amadeo R. Perez as his personal representative who will convey his and the Filipino people’s deep regret and apology to the family of Hung Shi-chen, the Taiwanese fisherman who died in the incident, as well as to the people of Taiwan over the "unfortunate and unintended" loss of life.

Lacierda said it was a "personal" decision on the part of the President "to authorize Chairman Perez as his personal representative to convey his personal apologies to the family of Mr. Hung Shi-chen."

Also, upon orders from the President, the National Bureau of Investigation has started the investigation and is committed to a "thorough, exhaustive, impartial and expeditious" investigation of the incident.

"The NBI has given this case the highest priority," said Lacierda.

In a joint statement made earlier by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and PCG, it said that on May 9, 2013, MCS 3001 manned by elements of BFAR and PCG, encountered four foreign fishing vessels within the Philippine Archipelagic waters.

"Our MCS 3001 tried to board one of the vessels and in ensuring maneuvers, one of the Taiwanese fishing vessels repeatedly tried to ram our MCS forcing our MCS to fire warning shots and eventually, on the machinery portion of the vessel to disable the same," it said.

"While the maneuver is happening, MCS 3001 detected the presence of unidentified grey and white ships forcing them to withdraw and return back to port. MCS 3001 was not able to verify what happened to the fishing vessels. We now have information that one of the Taiwanese fishermen died," it added.

"We understand the grief and hurt of the family and of the people of Taiwan over this unfortunate loss and we empathize with them," said Lacierda.

"We certainly would hope that the authorities in Taiwan would see this gesture as a sincere gesture. As we have seen over the news, they claimed that this is insincere. Far from being insincere, we have time and again expressed our deep regret and apology to the family of Mr. Hung Shi-chen," he stressed. (PNA)



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