Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Taiwan had always been a Filipino livelihood disaster waiting to happen

Just right after high-fives are exchanged by Philippine President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay over the stay on the execution granted by Beijing on three convicted Filipino drug mules, the jobs of more than 80,000 law-abiding Filipinos in Taiwan suddenly come under an even darker shadow cast by an axe. Taiwan is reportedly stonewalling on a demand for an apology from the Philippine Government after 14 Taiwanese nationals were deported to Mainland China.
"Taiwan's government and people are strongly angered," President Ma Ying-jeou said through an interpreter while meeting in Taipei with Manuel Roxas, an unofficial envoy of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III.

Ma reiterated Taiwan's demand that the Philippines "take responsibility for its mistakes" and apologise, local television footage showed.

Roxas, who arrived on Monday in an attempt to cool the row, has so far only said "we deeply regret" this incident during talks with Ma and Taiwan's foreign minister Timothy Yang, according to the foreign ministry.

His mission was however complicated by comments made in Manila by Aquino's spokesman, who said the Philippines would not apologize for the incident, which saw the 14 suspected fraudsters deported to China against Taipei's wishes.

So far three dominoes have fallen as far as the stability of the Philippines' relationship with key political entities within the Greater China sphere goes -- Hong Kong (on account of the row over the massacre of eight of its nationals in a botched hostage rescue in Manila), China (on account of negotiations over Filipino criminals on death row there), and Taiwan (the subject of this piece). All this because the Philippine Government cannot seem to get its communication act together -- considering too that Communications is something Noynoy did not scrimp on when he cobbled together his Cabinet.

Unfortunately, this is another one of those renowned cases of Filipinos relying on an inherently unsecure source of national livelihood -- the sorts that simply evaporate wholesale in the aftermath of a single catastrophic change in circumstance. Indeed, Taiwan in particular represents a variable way outside of Filipinos' sphere of control as far as their future fortunes go.
The country does not have a diplomatic channel [in Taiwan]. It adheres to the one-China policy, where it recognizes the Beijing government.

Taiwan is considered a renegade province by China.

Besides the 5,000 Filipinos whose contracts have been stalled because of additional requirements, Roxas said there is also an “underlying threat” to 3,000 more whose contracts are about to end.

Taiwan, as is now clearly evident, had always been a livelihood disaster just waiting to happen. How many more such economic bombs lie in the diplomatic minefield that Filipinos have so far proven to be so clumsy at navigating?

1 comment:

  1. Just as with Hong Kong, Taiwan's Chief Executive, President Ma Ying-jeou is actually supposed to feel a certain natural affinity with Filipinos: Just like Hong Kong's Tsang, Ma is a Cradle Catholic.

    Yet another wasted tie.