Taiwan rejects deportation of OFW critical of Duterte

Sofia Tomacruz
Taiwan rejects deportation of OFW critical of Duterte


News reports from Taiwan quote its foreign ministry as saying that foreign workers enjoy freedom of speech and 'citizen treatment'

MANILA, Philippines – Taiwan has rejected the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) moves to deport an overseas Filipino worker over social media posts critical of President Rodrigo Duterte, saying the Philippines must first consult with Taiwan before taking any drastic action. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan) said that foreign workers enjoyed “citizen treatment,” which meant their rights and interests were “protected by relevant laws and regulations, including freedom of speech, which should be respected by governments of all countries,” reported Taiwan News, one of Taiwan’s main English media outlets.  

Taiwan News quoted the Taiwan foreign ministry’s statement first quoted by UDN, a major Taiwan news outlet. 

The Taiwan foreign ministry underscored 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.” 

What happened? A Filipina caregiver identified by the DOLE as Elanel Egot Ordidor, was accused of attempting to “discredit and malign” Duterte and “destabilize the government” after posting posts critical of the Philippine President on Facebook.  

Labor Attaché Fidel Macauyag earlier said the Philippine government was “constrained to act” for Ordidor’s deportation following her supposed violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 due to her “wilful posting of nasty and malevolent materials against Duterte.” 

Macauyag added that the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Taichung, Taiwan, already coordinated with Ordidor’s broker and employer to have her deported “on the basis of the gravity of [her] offense under Philippine Law.” 

Responding to this, the Taiwan foreign ministry said that if the Philippines has gone through legal procedures and determined that Ordidor indeed violated Philippine law, it can submit a request for mutual legal assistance to the ROC (Republic of China) government through diplomatic channels.

Overreach? Labor group Migrante earlier urged the DOLE to stop its harassment of Ordidor and overseas workers critical of the Duterte government to distract from gaps in efforts to respond to the outbreak. 

Public frustration and anger have mounted over Duterte’s coronavirus response and his administration’s handling of the outbreak, which has infected over 7,000 as of Tuesday, April 28.  

In the Philippines, the National Bureau of Investigation summoned several people it accused of spreading “fake news” on social media, or items usually critical of the Duterte administration. – Rappler.com

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.