Taiwanese execs: Our demands are not excessive
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - May 21, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Taiwan yesterday said Taipei is reasonable and not acting excessively in demanding a formal apology from the Philippines and a joint investigation on the shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel in Philippine waters last May 9.

David Chen, of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO), said two of the four versions of the Philippines’ statement on the incident are acceptable to Taiwan.

However, Chen said that substantive wordings were not reflected in the fourth letter handed by Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) chairman Amadeo Perez Jr. when he met with officials in Taipei last week.

“We can see substantive wordings were canceled in the final version. If you’re a Taiwanese, how would you feel?” Chen told reporters.

He said a letter of apology indicating that it comes from the Filipino people is not acceptable because the shooting was committed by the PCG, whom he referred to as “civil servants.”

“The most important thing is that this was conducted by your civil servants. We demand a formal apology,” he said.

Peter Pan, executive assistant to the representative, also stressed that the requirements are not difficult.

“The few people in the government who did this act should be responsible for the compensation,” Pan said.

Chen said the Philippines’ first and third letters to Taiwan were acceptable with the wordings “express regret and apology of the Philippine government.”

But he said the fourth letter, handed by Perez, only stated it “expresses regret and apology of the people of the Philippines,” and not the government.

The fourth letter also does not indicate any assurance that an investigation on the incident would be conducted immediately and does not list all the penalties under Philippine laws and financial restitution to the victim’s family.

Chen also pointed out that Taiwan had insisted that a joint investigation should begin.

“Our investigation team was invited by your MECO. We really want to follow. We don’t ask excessively. They’re all reasonable,” Chen insisted.

Meantime, TECO said the overseas Filipino worker in Taiwan beaten up by Taiwanese teenagers accepted yesterday the apology of the group and a compensation of NT$120,000.

“The local police found these people and they said sorry. They apologized and paid NT$120,000 compensation. The victim received their apology and compensation,” Chen said. “This is an isolated incident.”

He branded as rumors the reports that Filipino products were removed from Taiwanese stores and that Filipinos could not buy from these stores.

Filipino workers in Taiwan have been advised to stay indoors as emotions continue to run high against the Philippines over the killing of the Taiwanese fisherman.

Taiwan is host to nearly 90,000 OFWs.

The Taiwan investigation team claimed that PCG members intentionally shot the Taiwanese fisherman and other crewmembers of the Guang Ta Hsin 28.

Chen Wen-chi, head of the Taiwan investigating team, said the Taiwanese fishing vessel was shot 45 times.

The Taiwanese team arrived in Manila last May 16 hoping that they would be able to jointly conduct an investigation with their Philippine counterparts on what transpired during the May 9 incident.

But the team decided to go back to Taiwan last Saturday and accused the Philippine government of trying to delay their request for a joint investigation.

Meanwhile, a retired Philippine ambassador called Taiwan a “bully” for its actions and retaliation against the Philippines.

Lauro Baja Jr., former Philippine permanent representative to the United Nations and foreign affairs undersecretary for policy, said Taiwan “is behaving like an irresponsible neighborhood bully and it is not surprising since it is a province of China.”

Baja said the Philippines should not stoop to Taiwan’s level after China’s renegade province imposed a second wave of sanctions against Manila.

“The Philippines should instead act and speak as a responsible member of the international community,” Baja said.

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