Pinoys in Vietnam remain on alert after riots

By Maria Aleta Nieva-Nishimori,

Posted at May 17 2014 03:27 PM | Updated as of May 17 2014 11:27 PM

MANILA – Filipino workers in Vietnam continue to stay on guard to ensure their safety following anti-China protests.

"Talagang delikado po talaga. As of now, hindi pa kami sure about sa safety namin," said Filipino worker Christopher Hael.

Although the protests target Chinese people and companies based in Vietnam, Filipinos still fear of being caught in the middle of the tension.

Riots began after China stationed an oil drilling platform in waters being claimed by both China and Vietnam.

Hael is a research and development staff of a shoe manufacturer based in Ho Chi Minh. The company, he said, is Taiwanese-owned and has been mistaken by rioters as a Chinese firm.

"Apat na Pinoy ang nagwo-work dito sa Taiwanese company kasama na yung sa ibang planta," he said. "Right now, magmo-move kami sa hotel dahil bali-balita na nakarating sa amin na may malaking rally daw ang magaganap sa Linggo," he said.

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

"About sa mga ibang Pinoy naman na nagta-trabaho dito sa Vietnam, wala pa kaming balita na may nasaktan na or na-injured. Marami rin dito na Pinoy kaso ilan lang ang nagta-trabaho sa Taiwanese company tulad namin," he explained.

Despite the tension, Hael said they decided to stay in the country.

"Mag-stay muna dito sa Vietnam dahil hindi rin naman kami pinapabayaan ng aming boss sa pagkain, kwarto, at sasakyan in case na emergency," he said, adding that their employer is still monitoring the situation in their area.

"Yung planta namin hindi gaanong naapektuhan ng pagra-rally ng Vietnamese, minor damages lang sa guard house kumpara doon sa main planta talagang lubhang malaki ang damage doon dahil solid Chinese at Taiwanese ang mga expat doon," he said.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Consulate advised them to be careful and avoid areas where protests are being held.