Ople Center Reactions to the Taiwan Deportation Issue

News Release

Blas F. Ople Policy Center

February 10, 2010

NGO calls on PH to say less and do more to show appreciation for its friendship with Taiwan

Former labor undersecretary and known OFW advocate Susan Ople called on the Aquino administration to bare its plans on how to mitigate the impact of further fall-out from the ongoing row between the Philippines and Taiwan over the recent deportation of 24 Taiwanese nationals to mainland China.

The daughter of the late Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas F. Ople stressed that while the Philippine government continues to invoke its One-China policy, the fate of over 100,000 Filipino workers and their families back home hang in the balance.

“Are we truly prepared to walk the talk? What is our contingency plan once Taiwan decides not to renew the contracts of our workers? If we don’t even have one, then I appeal to government officials to come up with more nuanced and sober statements,”‘ Ople said, adding that the worsening rift is now causing Filipinos in Taiwan deep concern.

The head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, a non-government organization known for helping distressed OFWs, said that there are instances in the diplomatic world when the “‘less talk-more action'” rule should be observed. “‘To my mind, this is one such instance. Let our diplomats and private industry leaders sort this out with their counterparts as long-standing friends are wont to do, below the radar screen but always with deep respect and appreciation for each other.”‘

The center pointed out the irony that billions of pesos are being poured in to finance conditional cash transfers to the poor yet the government seems to be too stingy in its statements extolling the mutually beneficial relations between Taiwan and the Philippines over the years that have led to decent jobs for hundreds of thousands of Filipinos.

‘Low-skilled migrant workers in Taiwan including Filipinos earn at least twice, if not triple, the minimum wage in their homeland. Taiwan has been quite effective in promoting the rights of all workers including foreign workers. And while we adhere to the One-China policy as many other countries do, we should not fail to recognize and be grateful for the enormous contributions of the peoples and leadership of Taiwan to our country.”

The anti-human trafficking advocate noted that there may have been a coordination gap when the Bureau of Immigration failed to notify the Manila Economic and Cultural Office about the pending case involving 24 Taiwanese nationals. ‘This is not to cast aspersion on any single agency but simple courtesies do matter. Had the MECO and even our labor department been informed early on about this then perhaps a more amicable compromise could have been reached through diplomatic and private sector channels without compromising our foreign policy.’ ”

The lack of coordination between and among different agencies is apparent even with the post-deportation statements being issued by various officials.

Ople thus appealed to the Aquino administration: “‘Speak with one voice, and deliver one clear and unified message.”‘ The NGO leader said that at this point, the government should simply refer all media inquiries about the Taiwan rift to the labor department, while making known the Philippines’ desire to reach out to the people of Taiwan and engage in talks about mutual cooperation in the fight against transnational crime.


Author: Susan Ople

Susan "Toots" Ople is the President of the Blas F. Ople Policy and Training Institute. She's an OFW and labor advocate based in the Philippines.

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  • Luchie

    Less talk more action! I agree.
    But lest readers be mislead, for reference, I believe the date here must read February 2011, not 2010.