Taiwan threatens to freeze hiring of OFWs

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 13 2013 11:10 AM | Updated as of May 14 2013 03:22 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Taiwan is considering sanctions against the Philippines amid widespread outrage over the killing Thursday of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine Coast Guard.

"We will definitely seek justice for our fisherman and we will not rule out the possibility of sanctions," Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said late Saturday.

Should Manila fail to respond before midnight Tuesday, Taipei will freeze the hiring of workers from the Philippines, recall its de facto ambassador to the Philippines and ask the de facto Philippine ambassador to Taiwan to return home to assist in the investigation of the case, a statement by Taiwan's foreign ministry said. 

Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Monday said the Department of Foreign Affairs is investigating the incident. 

"Iniimbestigahan ang totoong nangyari. The DFA is in touch... The lead person is MECO (Manila Economic and Cultural Office) in communicating with TECO (Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office) because of the one-China policy," he said.

Asked about the Taiwan government's threat to freeze the hiring of workers from the Philippines, Aquino said he has not heard of any such report. 

"Hindi naman ganon ang report sa akin ng MECO. (That was not the report given to me by MECO) The interest is to proceed on a calm basis," Aquino said. 

The Philippine Coast Guard on Friday admitted having fired at the Taiwanese fishing vessel, but claimed the shots were in "self-defense."

However, preliminary examination results by Taiwanese prosecutors showed the fishing boat was hit by 52 bullets and there were no signs of a collision. - With reports from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News and Kyodo