The Philippines is currently involved in an ongoing battle with Taiwan over the deportation of some 14 Taiwanese citizens on February 2nd of this year. The Taiwanese were involved in a fraud scheme in which Chinese citizens were defrauded of some US$20 Million. The Taiwanese government admits that their citizens were charged with such crimes, and even sought to have them sent home. Police in Taiwan, China and the Philippines, as well as Interpol all wanted these Taiwanese Citizens, in addition so some Chinese Citizens who were allegedly involved with them.
So, everybody agreed that these Taiwanese should be deported. So, why the battle between Taiwan and the Philippines?
Well, you see, Taiwan considers itself independent from China. Some nations recognize the independence of Taiwan, other nations don’t. China considers Taiwan to be a renegade Province of China. The Philippines has a “one China” policy, meaning that it only regcognizes Mainland China as a nation, and not the island of Taiwan. So, when the Philippines deported the Taiwanese, they sent them to China, and not to their homeland of Taiwan. This sent Taiwan into a fury.
These Taiwanese people came to the Philippines from Taiwan, not from Mainland China. Normally, when you are deported, you are sent back to the country where you came from. But, since the Philippines does not recognize Taiwan as a country, they sent them back to the mainland. Problem is, the Philippines currently has over 90,000 Filipinos working in Taiwan as OFW’s there (Overseas Filipino Workers). Due to the deportation crisis, Taiwan is threatening to either fire the 90,000 and send them home, or to at least freeze the hiring of additional Filipinos. In the world economic situation that we live in today, if the Philippines loses 90,000 jobs in Taiwan, that would likely have a pretty severe impact on the Philippine economy.
Earlier this week, President Aquino sent an emissary, Mar Roxas (Aquino’s running mate last year) to Taiwan to see if the situation could be negotiated and put aside. The trip was rather unsuccessful, though. The Taiwanese asked Roxas for the Philippines to issue an apology for the incident, and if they apologized the issue would be laid to rest. However, Roxas, and the Philippine government refused to apologize, saying that they had nothing to apologize for. Because of this, the Taiwanese refused to lay the issue to rest.
As expats living in the Philippines, we need to keep an eye on this case. While it is unlikely, what would we think if, for example, Libya, who is currently in a deep crisis, suddenly called for all Americans (or whatever nationality) to be arrested and sent to Libya. Would the Philippines follow the request and send American expats to Libya for some sort of prosecution. I highly doubt it could happen, but these Taiwanese were sent back to a hostile government, and I would not have expected that to happen either. So, who knows what events could transpire that would affect expats from the USA, UK, Australia or some other place? It is just impossible to predict. But, if Taiwanese can be deported to an unfriendly government, the same could conceivably happen to any of us.
What do you think? Do you think the Philippines made an error in the original handling of the deportation? Should the Philippines have issued an apology to put the issue to rest? What will happen if those 90,000 Filipinos lose their jobs and are sent home?