More than 80,000 OFW lives in Taiwan are in great danger. Day to day, Filipinos in Taiwan endure racism and experience violence from Taiwanese people without protection from their government. The Taiwanese people are outraged because of the death of a Taiwanese fisherman allegedly shot by the Philippine Coast Guard in Philippine Territory. Though true that we should have acted more prudently on the matter, according to international law expert Miriam Santiago, the hostile acts against the Filipinos in Taiwan is already considered an act of aggression from the point of view of international law.
As a man of reason, I cannot fathom how the death of one Taiwanese be blamed to the entire Filipino people. Much more, cause the lives of some 87,000 OFWs to be in danger.
Taiwanese Media and Taiwanese Government can ease the Tension, if They want to
Media is one of the most potent agent of change in society. In fact, public opinion can be shaped by the media. A government both has the power to influence and the power to police, among its many powers. Under these premises, I wanted to know how the Taiwan Media reported the incident to cause the entire Taiwan people to go mad against 87,000 OFWs in their country. Second, why is there an inaction from their government to protect the well being of our Filipino brothers there? Did their media played the Filipino people as the antagonist in their reports? Does their government, whose president has become very unpopular, has a hand in it?
Whatever the answers to these questions are, one thing is for sure: Taiwan Media and Taiwan Government can do something to ease the tension in Taiwan.
Taiwan Needs Us Too
87,000 OFWs contribute to the economy of Taiwan. These 87,000 workers are professionals, technical, skilled workers. Very few of them are domestic helpers. In other words, the Taiwan economy will suffer a great deal of self inflicted pain should they choose to lose the OFWs either by sending them home or by scaring them away.
We Have Issues Back Home
We have to admit that we have issues back home. PNoy administration is very weak on Foreign Policies and in managing international affairs. What on Earth have our officials been doing that allowed this minor political crisis to escalate this big, endangering the lives of our brothers overseas? Are they even aware of the incident? Our officials have to wait for a deadline set by Taiwan to act. This made us look bullied before the whole world! Much worse, the action made was poorly thought out. The president didn’t even affix his signature on the letter delivered by his “personal” representative. We have very bright experts on Foreign Affairs, PNoy should make use of their intelligence if he doesn’t have his own.
PNoy government should have learned from the Manila Hostage crisis. Its aftermath is still being felt today. In fact, we’re still paying for that blunder.
It is sad to admit, but the Philippines has made herself a kontrabida in Southeast Asia. As Alex Magno puts it:
In three years, we have made ourselves the least liked in the neighborhood.
The Cambodians do not like us because of what they consider President Aquino’s ill-manners during the Phnom Penh Asean meeting. The Indonesians cast a wary eye on us because, the year before when they hosted the Asean summit, President Aquino closeted himself in his room and avoided the functions. At the Vladivostok Apec summit, we misrepresented Singapore’s foreign policy positions. We escalated the spat with China without close consultations with our Asean partners.
When the Thai prime minister paid Manila a visit, presidential sister Kris publicly speculated about a possible romantic link between her brother and the guest. The Thai prime minister is very happily married.
Malaysia, of course, blames Manila for letting the Lahad Datu incident happen. The Vietnamese probably feel we are not consulting them enough about the South China Sea claims.
China does not like us because of the way we handled the South China Sea issues. Hong Kong does not like us because of the unfortunate Luneta incident. Now Taiwan does not like us too.
The president has to realize that as president, his audience is not only the Filipino people but the international community. His words and actuations are heard and seen by the world. He is not allowed to make poorly thought out personal opinions concerning the nation because words from his mouth are heard by the world and becomes a national policy. In other words, when a president opens his mouth, he is not only talking to the Filipino people, he is making a proclamation for the whole world to hear in behalf of all Filipinos. His predecessor understands this so much so she did not entertain ambush interviews during her time to avoid saying the wrong words that could further damage our international reputation.
Law, Not Blood
Ultimately, we have the international law to govern us in this incident. I am positive that this can be settled peacefully, without further damaging international relationships. Miriam Santiago already offered her analysis and what actions the Philippines can do should worse comes to worst. Let us use the collective intelligence of experts to come up with the best solution to this crisis. But while we are still figuring things out, let’s pray for our Kababayans overseas.