OFW rights group files complaint vs labor attaché in Taiwan

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 01 2020 08:16 PM

Nan Shan Plaza (L) and Taiwan's landmark building Taipei 101 are pictured through the window of an airplane, in Taipei, Taiwan, Aug. 19, 2018. Tyrone Siu, Reuters/File

MANILA – Filipino migrant workers' group Migrante International has filed an administrative complaint before the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) against a labor attaché who sought the deportation of a Filipina caregiver in Taiwan for criticism against the Duterte administration.

Labor attaché Fidel Macauyag “abused his authority and has failed in his mandate to protect our migrant workers overseas,” the OFW welfare group’s chairperson Joanna Concepcion said in a statement.

He also “violated the diplomatic duty of respect to the Taiwan government,” she added.

Macauyag, of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Taichung City, Taiwan, earlier sought the deportation of Elanel Ordidor over the latter’s criticism on the Philippine government’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

He alleged Ordidor was using multiple social media accounts and participated in a group "organized to discredit and malign the President and destabilize the government."

He said POLO had coordinated with the worker's broker and employer on her deportation on her supposed offense under Philippine law, claiming that sharing and posting such videos are punishable under cyber libel under Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

Migrante International wants the labor official to “be immediately removed from his post, his actions be reversed and repudiated” and apologize to the government of Taiwan, to Ordidor, and to all Filipino migrant workers “as these acts were committed against all of us.”

The filing of the complaint coincided with International Labor Day. 

“We will continue to stand for the protection of the democratic rights to our freedom of speech and expression,” Concepcion said.

In response to the incident, the Taiwanese foreign ministry has rejected the call for Ordidor’s deportation, saying foreign workers enjoy freedom of speech in the country.

"Taiwan is a sovereign, independent country where foreign workers enjoy 'citizen treatment,' and their rights and interests are protected by relevant laws and regulations, including freedom of speech, which should be respected by governments of all countries," the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

“No person or institution, in this case, has the right to pressure her, her employer, or broker, nor shall she be deported without consultations held between both governments,” it added.

- Report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News