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Filipinos in Taiwan told to lie low

Rising tensions spark fear of attacks

Filipinos in Taiwan told to lie low

Taipei protests against the shooting of a fisherman by Philippines coastgaurds (AFP/Mandy Cheng) reporter, Manila

May 17, 2013

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The Philippines today advised its nationals living in Taiwan to stay at home or commute directly to and from work to avoid "hate assaults."

Amadeo Perez Jr., head of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taiwan, said that "tension is high" after the shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine Coast Guard last week.

"We advise Filipinos not to leave their homes as much as possible," Perez said in an interview. Several instances of discrimination against Filipinos have already been reported and an attack against a Filipino in the city of Kaoshiung has been confirmed, Perez said.

The attack happened on Wednesday when a man was struck on the arm with a bat in Kaoshiung City. He was taken to hospital, Perez said, and police are reportedly investigating.

Congressman Walden Bello meanwhile called on the Taiwanese government not to put the blame on Filipino workers for the "inadequacy" of the Philippine government’s response to the death of the Taiwanese fisherman, who was killed after his boat entered disputed waters.

"Their unilateral moves are certainly not contributing to the resolution of this current dispute," Bello said. "It is simply unacceptable for Taiwan to leverage their grievance against Filipino [workers]."

Government data shows that some 93,000 Filipinos work in Taiwan as factory workers or domestic helpers.

Taiwan has already issued a series of sanctions on the Philippines after the May 8 shooting, including a stop to the hiring of Filipino workers, the recall of Taiwan's de facto ambassador to Manila, and a call on Taiwanese nationals not to travel to the Philippines.

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