By Roy Mabasa
The Taiwanese government has assured the Philippines that they will not tolerate any misconduct or abuses against anybody, particularly overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
In a statement sent to the Manila Bulletin, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) executive officer Peter C.Y. Pan pointed out that Taiwan and the Philippines are not only geographically close to each other but also share common values of freedom, democracy, free media, civil society, culture and most all of all, rule of law and human rights.
“As a country which always respects the rule of law and human rights, including that of the OFWs in Taiwan, the Taiwan government and its parliament have done their best to protect the 150,000 OFWs in Taiwan and have treated the OFWs equally the same as the Taiwanese nationals by law,” Pan said in the statement sent on Friday.
Pan was reacting to reports of alleged maltreatment and abuses against some Filipino workers in Taiwan.
“Generally speaking, most of the OFWs in Taiwan are fairly treated and relate Taiwan as their second home. The majority of the OFWs are in Taiwan’s high-tech industries. They are treated with dignity and respect, and their human rights are well-protected by the rule of law,” Pan said in the statement.
The TECO official also urged OFWs who have been reported to be victims of alleged abuses by their employers to immediately come forward and report such incidents to Taiwan’s “highly effective labor and law enforcement agencies” or through the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), the Philippines’ de-facto embassy in Taipei.
Pan said so far, very few complaints have been reported to either TECO, MECO, or to the Taiwanese authorities.
“On behalf of the Taiwan government, we can assure the public that we will not tolerate or condone misconducts or abuses of human rights,” the TECO official said.
As to the alleged complaints of Filipino fishermen hired by Taiwanese companies, Pan said TECO will alert their respective fishery agency in Taipei to look into the allegations.