'Pinoys lose 10,000 jobs due to PH-Taiwan row'
MANILA – A party-list lawmaker urged government on Monday, July 8, to swiftly resolve the row with Taiwan, which was caused by a member of the Philippine Coast Guard killing a Taiwanese fisherman off Batanes two months ago.
Roy Señeres, whose groups represents overseas Filipino workers said some 10,000 OFWs from Taiwan returned to the country after their job contracts were not extended due to the shooting of the Taiwanese fisherman.
Señeres warned that the country could lose at least US$2 billion in remittances in the next 3 years if the contracts of the OFWs are not renewed.
Lulu Abato, one of the OFWs complaining about the government’s inaction, said most of them had incurred debts because of loss of income.
Señeres of the the OFW Family Club said that while the government is “slow in acting on a very urgent problem,” thousands have lost their income because of the shooting incident.
President Benigno Aquino III is still reviewing the report of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on the shooting of Taiwanese Hung Shih-chen last May 9.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima earlier said that the NBI recommended criminal and administrative charges against members of the Coast Guard over the incident.
Señeres lamented that the Aquino government had been preoccupied with the sex-for-flight scandal in the Middle East, neglecting the plight of OFWs employed in Taiwan.
Señeres, a former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, said he wants to use his P70-million priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel to repatriate stranded OFWs.
“I intend to use this to answer for their tickets should they become stranded, God forbid, anywhere in the world, not only in Taiwan, and they are not members of OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration). Because if you’re not a member of OWWA they will not shoulder your ticket back home,” he explained.
“Probably a portion of this money will also be utilized to answer for the blood money of OFWs who are under threat of being executed. When in truth and in fact, they have a good case, for instance, for self-defense,” Señeres said.
The budget department, however, has a prescribed menu for hard and soft projects where the yearly PDAF of congressmen can be allotted to, and paying blood money for distressed OFWS is not among them. – Rappler.com
Taiwan flag via Shutterstock. With file photo/EPA.