HONG KONG-Do not make the Filipino nationals in Taiwan another collateral damage in your erratic, problematic and undiplomatic diplomatic stances.
This is the stance of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle East Asia and Oceania (ILPS-EAO) as it condemns the Benigno Aquino III administration for its downplayed treatment of the Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) shooting of a Taiwanese vessel killing a 65-year old fisherman last Thursday, May 9.
The Manila government has been quiet the past days despite demands from the Taiwanese government to apologize and remunerate the family of the victim, conduct an immediate and impartial investigation on the shootout and the punishment of the perpetrators.
The shootout, termed “savage”, “brutal and cold-blooded” and ”unacceptable” by the Taiwanese government, caused a public outrage in Taiwan after they have learned that the slain fisherman was unarmed and that more than 30 bullet hits have been checked on the Taiwanese vessel.
Apparently, it was only after threats from the Taiwanese government that it will freeze the hiring of around 30,000 Filipino migrants did someone from the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taiwan make statements.
The said representative visited and apologized to the victim’s family. However, the PCG has maintained its statement that it acted in self-defense.
So far, no statement has been issued from the Manila-based administration or the president himself even if the China government has expressed support to the Taiwanese government and made the same demands.
“The silence from the Aquino administration on this unfortunate incident is not only putting its diplomatic ties with the Taiwanese government in danger but also the many Filipinos living and working in Taiwan,” said Ramon Bultron, convener of the ILPS-EAO.
According to Bultron, Aquino has made rash, irresponsible and reckless statements on many incidents involving other governments that have caused a backlash on the Filipino migrants.
He cited the 2010 Manila hostage crisis that killed eight Hong Kong locals and how the Philippine president joked and downplayed the incident in the media as well as the 2013 Sabah standoff and how he virtually gave the Malaysian government the ticket to attack and kill the Filipinos who occupied a village in Sabah.
Both incidents caused a massive racist backlash on Filipinos living and working in those two countries.
“With such vapid positioning, the Aquino administration only plays up and intensifies the culture of impunity that also affects and endangers other nationalities. From the Filipino activists who criticize the government to the Hong Kong nationals who simply went to Manila for a vacation to the latest unfortunate incident of the 65-year old Taiwanese fisherman, Aquino lets it happen seemingly without remorse,” retorted Bultron.
The Taiwanese government was also criticized and forewarned by the ILPS-EAO for using the Filipino migrants as a “chess pawns” in asserting its demands. “President Ma Ying-Jeou should not use innocent Filipinos as leverage. They are innocent and have nothing to do with the incident.”
Finally, the group lambasted the Aquino administration for its obvious bias to the US government, stating: “While playing a heavy hand on “erring” fisherfolk from Taiwan or China, Aquino’s administration was even very forgiving or understanding to the U.S. naval ship that destroyed the Tubbataha reefs in southern Philippines.”
“PNoy’s diplomatic ties with other countries only shows its loyalty to one master – the US government as the case of the Tubataha reef and the continued culture of impunity among US soldiers and in handling local HR cases are proof of this,” concluded Bultron. (PR)