Mar leaves for Taiwan today

- Rudy Santos () - February 21, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Former senator Manuel Roxas II will leave for Taiwan today as the special envoy of President Aquino to explain to Taiwanese officials some unsettled issues regarding the deportation of 14 Taiwanese nationals to China last Feb. 2.

Roxas, who is scheduled to take an 8 a.m. flight of Philippine Airlines, hopes to be able to appease Taiwan on behalf of the Filipino people.

“We confirm that former senator Mar Roxas is the personal emissary of the President to Taiwan. He is traveling to Taiwan in his private capacity,” said presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

Roxas, Aquino’s running mate in the 2010 elections and now his troubleshooter, is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Timothy Yang today.

The President said last week that the Philippine emissary he will be sending to Taiwan might be a team composed of private citizens, so as not to offend China regarding its one-China policy, if only to explain the country’s stand over the deportation of 14 Taiwanese to China.

The China Post earlier carried an article stating that a Philippine representative has apologized after a row over the deportation.

“I apologize for this unfortunate incident,” Amadeo Perez, chairman of Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), was quoted as saying in a ministry statement after meeting Yang in Taipei on Friday.

The Philippine government, however, denied making any apology over the issue, according to sources.

The report further said that the Taiwan Ministry slammed Manila for invoking the one-China policy in defense of its action and for saying that the issue was irrelevant and unnecessary.

It also said that the Philippines lied about the nationality of the suspects.

It claimed that passports of the 14 Taiwanese nationals, who allegedly swindled $20 million in an international scam targeting mainland Chinese, were seized but when Taiwan re-issued their passports, they were still treated as if they had no identification papers.

Taipei was reportedly furious about the incident and retaliated by giving the innocent Filipinos working there a hard time to enter Taiwan.

Perez left for Taiwan last Friday, leading a delegation to appeal the issue.

“We are going to appeal to reconsider the hiring ban of Filipino workers following the deportation of the 14 Taiwanese nationals,” Perez told reporters at the airport before his departure to Taiwan.

Officials have stressed the importance of settling the row with Taiwan, taking into account the 90,000 Filipinos working there.

Meantime, recruitment leader Jackson Gan said they expect the early resolution of the row with Taiwan after the meeting with the Philippine delegation led by Roxas.

“With the visit of Roxas, we expect the bilateral ties between Taipei and Manila to be re-connected and the restrictions imposed by the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) on new visa applications will be lifted,” Gan said.

Gan further expressed hope that the more than 5,000 OFWs scheduled to leave for Taiwan for this month and March can immediately fly and work in factories there.

According to Gan, electronic and manufacturing factories in Taiwan have been expecting the arrival of the new workers for the past weeks to help them cope with the increasing demand for electronic goods. – With Mayen Jaymalin

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