Press Release
May 16, 2013


Senator Loren Legarda today expressed regret over the Taiwanese government's decision to freeze the hiring of Filipino workers following the death of a Taiwanese fisherman in Philippine waters.

"The Philippine government, through the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), has conveyed its sincere apologies over the unfortunate incident that resulted to the death of a Taiwanese fisherman. It is regrettable that Taiwan has seen these efforts as falling short of its expectations," Legarda said. To underscore the government's sincerity, the President has also designated the Chair of MECO to reiterate the government's message of regret and apology to the family of the deceased and the people of Taiwan. "The government is leaving no stone unturned to ferret out the circumstances and the truth behind this tragic incident," she added.

Reports say that Taiwan made the decision despite an apology by MECO representative Antonio Basilio after a closed-door meeting with Taiwanese Foreign Minister David Lin on Tuesday. Legarda explained "it serves no valid purpose for Taiwan to impose sanctions against Taiwan-bound workers or to conduct naval drills near Philippine waters. This can only further complicate the issue."

"It is vital that the lines of communication between our government and Taiwan are kept open with the view to resolving the issue in a peaceful manner," she stressed. "We want peaceful relations with all our neighbors. We hope this episode will be resolved in a spirit of open dialogue and constructive engagement."

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