Philippines May Evacuate Workers in Taiwan If Attacks Escalate

Monday, 20 May 2013 03:38 AM

 

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MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines may evacuate its 87,000 workers in Taiwan if tensions over the killing of a fisherman lead to widespread violence against Filipinos.

“Now, there seems to be no need,” Abigail Valte, a spokeswoman for President Benigno Aquino, said by phone Monday. “Should the need arise, we are prepared to evacuate.”

At least three Filipinos in Taiwan have been attacked since May 9, when a Philippine Coast Guard vessel opened fire on a Taiwanese boat in disputed territorial waters, killing one fisherman.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou froze hiring of workers from the nation and Taiwanese tourists scrapped travel plans for the Philippines.

Filipinos working in Taiwan remit more than $650 million in total to the Philippines each year, according to a statement Monday by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila. Almost 1.7 million Filipinos overseas send home about $20 billion a year.

The Philippines may consider directing more citizens to South Korea, Malaysia, and the Middle East if they are evacuated from Taiwan, Valte said.

“The Labor Department continues to search for alternative markets, mostly in the manufacturing sector,” Valte said. Taiwan has “taken every necessary measure to protect” Filipinos, its economic office in Manila said.


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