Pinoy group: Situation in Taiwan 'normal', but worry persists

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 06 2022 09:21 AM | Updated as of Aug 06 2022 04:34 PM

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MANILA – A coalition of Filipino communities in Taiwan is meeting virtually on Sunday with the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) to discuss evacuation plans in case the US-China rift further escalates, its member said.

Mercedita Kuan, secretary-general of Filcom Taiwan Northern, said although the situation is "normal" in Taiwan, fear still lingers.

"Mayroon pa rin pong pangamba kaya mayroong Zoom meeting with MECO (Sunday) ... Paano namin ililikas sarili namin in case magkaroon ng threat talaga ang China sa Taiwan," Kuan told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo on Saturday. 

MECO, a non-profit entity that serves as the unofficial link between the Philippines and Taiwan, has the "authority to perform functions usually carried out by Philippine foreign missions but of a non-political, non-security nature."

On Thursday, China kicked off its largest-ever set of military exercises encircling Taiwan after a visit to the island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The visit has become a major irritant to China.

Taiwan's 23 million people have long lived with the possibility of an invasion, but that threat has intensified under President Xi Jinping. 

China considers the self-ruled, democratic island as its territory and has vowed to one day reclaim it, by force if necessary.

Kuan said that despite the conflict, residents can still go about their daily activities. 

"Although may drills ang China, wala naman pong alarm sa cellphone namin na kailangan naming lumikas or any emergency na kailangan naming gawin to protect ourselves," she said.

The government of Taiwan has advised Taipei residents to download an app, Kuan said, in which 5,771 shelters can be located, in case of an invasion. 

At Sunday's meeting, Kuan said she will raise to MECO how some 8,000 undocumented overseas Filipino workers will be evacuated. But she hopes for a de-escalation. 

"Pinagpe-pray namin na 'wag naman sana," she said.

—TeleRadyo, August 6, 2022