Pinoy workers fear for safety after anti-China riots in Vietnam

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 16 2014 05:53 PM | Updated as of May 17 2014 08:39 PM

MANILA - Filipinos working in Chinese and Taiwanese-owned factories in Vietnam fear for their safety following escalating violence between Vietnam and China.

Christopher Hael, an overseas Filipino worker in Vietnam, said they learned from Chinese nationals based in the industrial zone Binh Duong that Vietnamese stormed their factory on Tuesday causing damages.

"Dito naman sa amin lugar which is center (Ho Chi Minh City) around 7 p.m. pinasok rin ng ibang grupo ng mga Vietnamese na naka-motor ang aming main factory na ang layo lang sa amin ay 200 meters," the Bulacan native said.

Chinese co-workers told them that another group of Vietnamese returned at 11 p.m. and created more damage to the factory.

Hael said their Chinese co-workers decided to lock themselves up inside a room out of fear.

While they were getting reports from co-workers, they also heard shouts at a nearby factory.

"Dalawa kaming Pinoy at kasama namin ang mga katrabaho namin na Chinese at Taiwanese na takot na takot sa mga nangyayari. Lahat kami nag-stay sa isang kwarto habang naghihintay kung anuman ang mangyayari. Sa awa ng Diyos, di napasok ang aming factory pero binasag nila ang mga salamin sa guard house," he said.

Around 7 a.m. the following day, they got a message that another group of Vietnamese forcibly entered their main factory.

"Kaya nagdesisyon ang aming grupo na mag-evacuate na agad sa safe place. Dahil hindi lang pagra-rally ang ginawa ng mga grupo ng Vietnamese, kung hindi pagbibigay din ng damage sa mga Chinese / Taiwanese factory," he said.

On Thursday, they were ordered by their head to return to their factory as it didn't sustain any major damage.

"Hanggang ngayon nag-stay kami sa kwarto para maiwasan ang mga Vietnamese group. Sa ngayon naghihintay pa kami ng desisyon ng aming Taiwanese boss. Hindi rin kami komportable dahil baka madamay kami kung sakaling magkaron ng riot kagaya sa Binh Duong province. Kaya pansamantala muna na nagkukulong kami sa kwarto for our safety," he said.

The Commission on Overseas Filipinos said that as of December 2011, there are 5,804 Pinoys in Vietnam.

Reuters reported on Thursday that anti-China riots erupted in industrial zones in the south of Vietnam on Tuesday after protests against Beijing placing an oil rig in a part of the South China Sea claimed by Hanoi.

However, the report added that Taiwanese firms, mistaken by rioters as being owned by mainland Chinese, were mostly affected. With a report from Reuters