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Taiwan’s freedom of speech lecture


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IT’S a shame that the Philip­pines, celebrated as Asia’s “First Democracy,” received a lecture about freedom of speech from a tiny island-state like Taiwan.

The issue: Labor Attaché Fi­del Macauyag of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Taichung pressed for the de­portation of Filipino caregiver Elanel Ordidor for expressing her disappointment at the Duterte administration’s response to the pandemic.

POLO even threatened the OFW of three years with a cyber libel case if she did not post a video on social media apologizing to

President Duterte for her “nasty and malevolent” statements that “maligned and discredited” the Chief Executive, and “destabi­lized” his administration.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Af­fairs rejected Ordidor’s deporta­tion, saying that workers enjoyed “citizen treatment.” It meant that even overseas workers’ rights and interests were “protected by relevant laws and regulations, in­cluding freedom of speech, which should be respected by govern­ments of all countries.”

It added that “no person or institution, in this case, has the right to pressure her, her em­ployer, or broker, nor shall she be deported without consulta­tions held between both govern­ments.”

Really, it’s sad to see a foreign government protecting the rights of a Filipino worker, which should have been the role of our own democratic government.

Macauyag is no different from the bootlicking Manuelito Luna, the commissioner of the Presi­dential Anti-Corruption Com­mission, whom the President sacked for pushing an investiga­tion against Vice President Leni Robredo’s relief efforts during the coronavirus outbreak.

The attache took it upon him­self to press for Ordidor’s depor­tation even though, according to Manila Economic and Cultural

Office (MECO) Chairperson Lito Banayo, there was no request for such from the government.

Both Macauyag and Luna were overzealous in sucking it up to Duterte.

The President should let Macauyag keep Luna company.

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And here comes returning Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque making matters worse when he mentioned Taiwan is part of China in a statement relat­ing to Ordidor’s case.

“We leave that wholly to the decision of Taiwan and China. Taiwan is part of China,” Roque said.

“My country expresses strong dissatisfaction and high regret over Philippine government of­ficials wrongly accusing Taiwan as part of China,” Taiwan foreign ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou stated as the ministry in­structed the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines to protest the matter with Manila.

While it is true that the Phil­ippines, like other countries, follows the “One-China policy,” which considers the Republic of China-controlled Taiwan as part of the People’s Republic of China, the loquacious Roque should have been smart enough to remain silent on this aspect.

Would it have hurt if he said: “We leave that wholly to the deci­sion of Taiwan,” period?

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