#International Affairs
Taiwan Government

Due to the event of 14 Taiwanese fraud suspects deported to China, and the failed negotiation between Taiwan and Philippine government, Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) Minister Jennifer Wang announced that an across-the-board freeze to Filipino workers would probably be implemented instead of a stricter 4-month screening she said earlier, for the national dignity.

In fact, an across-the-board freeze has been implemented. CLA stated firmly on Feb. 9 that only new applications would be affected for the reason of protecting migrant workers’ and employers’ rights in Taiwan. On the same day, however, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines (TECO) had announced a new rule, that 4 documents were newly added to the essential application documents including a Philippine Social Insurance Number card, which has been stopped providing for years because it isn’t a compulsory insurance in the Philippines.

Therefore, all the Filipino workers are technically frozen because all the applications will never be approved, no matter it’s a new application, reentry or direct employ. Jennifer Wang said earlier that they were well-prepared and ready for a freeze of indefinite duration.

Say No to State Bullying; Stop the Hiring Freeze Now!!!

President Ma owes migrant workers an apology!!

A petition for unfreezing the restrictions on hiring of Filipino Migrant Workers

Recently the Taiwanese government has made every effort to ensure the protection of the human rights of 14 Taiwanese fraud suspects, but at the same time, it is sabotaging more than 800 thousand Filipino workers’ human rights, depriving them of their right to work in Taiwan. Filipino workers have contributed to Taiwan’s economic boom and provided social care services, and in fact they have nothing to do with this international diplomatic fray. They are being hijacked by the Ma administration, taken hostage to retaliate against the Philippine government. To make Filipino migrant workers scapegoats for the current diplomatic row is cowardly and irresponsible. We eagerly urge the Ma administration to make an apology to migrant workers, and immediately stop the policy of freezing the hiring of Filipino workers.

On Feb. 21, when he met with Philippine presidential envoy Mr. Roxas, President Ma gave three reasons why the Philippine government should apologize for their violation of human rights: first, the illegal confiscation of the 14 fraud suspects’ passports, which made them become “undocumented persons”; second, using this excuse to forcefully deport them; and third, violating the legal “Habeas corpus” rights of the 14 suspects.

However, when we look at the condition of migrant workers in Taiwan, we find that almost all migrant workers’ passports have been confiscated by their employers or brokers, and this regular violation of their rights has hardly ever been punished by the Taiwan government. Forceful deportation is also very common. Since 1992, when the Employment Service Act was enacted, migrant workers have often had their contracts illegally terminated and have been sent directly to the airport. It was not until 2006 that the CLA set up a verification procedure to stop such illegal deportation. And this procedure still cannot stop “indirect deportation,” since migrant workers do not have the right to transfer jobs, or the transfer period is limited, and they are unable to collect evidence or do not have access to legal information. All of these unfair conditions often force migrant workers to accept unfair settlements offered by employers or brokers and to terminate contracts against their will.

In other words, the “modern slavery system” of Taiwan almost always turns migrant workers into “undocumented persons” and makes them vulnerable to “forced deportation”. If President Ma cares so much about the protection of these human rights, and insists that any persons or governments who violate these rights should apologize, then he owes migrant workers an apology. If he refuses to apologize, he is just a hypocrite.

Ironically, while migrant workers’ rights have long been ignored, the human rights of these 14 suspects are now being pursued hysterically by our government. We feel shamed by the hypocrisy of this government and we are strongly opposed to the government’s racist policies and the false claim of human rights. The Ma administration is now using migrant workers as scapegoats to assert its sovereignty; this is just bullying!! As individuals and as citizens who believe all workers of all nationalities should be treated equally, and who refuse to be hijacked by blind populism or patriotism, we are firmly opposed to the freeze on Filipino workers and demand that President Ma make an apology to migrant workers.

Initiated by (2011/2/24):

Yang, Zhu-jun 楊祖珺
(Associate Professor, Dept. of Mass Communication, Wen Hua University)
Chiu, Fred Yang-Liang 丘延亮
(Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Ethnology, SINICA)
Hwang, De-bei 黃德北
(Professor, Graduate Institute for Social Transformation Studies, Shih Hsin University)
Guo, Yao-zhong 郭耀中
(Lecturer, Shih Hsin University)
Taiwan International Workers’ Association (TIWA)台灣國際勞工協會
Kapulungan ng Samahang Pilipino (KaSaPi) 菲律賓外勞協會

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The Say No to State Bullying; Stop the Hiring Freeze Now! petition to Taiwan Government was written by Amos and is in the category International Affairs at GoPetition.