Palace: Fate of anti-Duterte OFW up to Taiwan and China

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 29 2020 10:42 AM | Updated as of Apr 29 2020 10:56 AM

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MANILA - The deportation of a Filipina caregiver in Taiwan who criticized President Duterte over the Philippine government's response to the coronavirus pandemic rests on Taipei and Beijing, Malacanang said Wednesday. 

Taiwan’s foreign ministry earlier rejected calls for the Filipina's deportation, saying foreign workers enjoy "citizen treatment" and that their rights, including freedom of expression, should be respected. 

"We leave the Filipino caregiver to the jurisdiction of Taiwanese authorities because deportation is really a decision to be made by Taiwanese authorities, which forms part of China," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque told ANC. 

"We leave that wholly to the decision of Taiwan and China. Taiwan is part of China," he added. 

Taiwan is governed entirely separately from China, even as Beijing claims the island as its own. 

Taipei and Manila have close economic and cultural ties, but no formal diplomatic relations, as the Philippines, like most countries, only recognizes the government in Beijing, and not in Taipei.

Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) chairman Angelito Banayo earlier said a labor official in Manila had brought to the attention of a Philippine official in Taichung the caregiver's social media post against the President.

This prompted the Taichung labor official to act "unilaterally," he added.

"Apparently, it was either the labor attaché on his own, unilaterally took action or received directions from home office," he told ANC.

"I'd like to assure the people, you know I've been the subject of 6 libel cases in the past... I would be the last person to countenance any curtailment of freedom of expression."

The Filipina migrant worker in Taiwan is set to appear before Philippine labor officials in Yunlin country to explain the incident, said the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) there. 

With a report from Reuters