4 Filipinos hurt in powerful Taiwan quake

Michelle Abad

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4 Filipinos hurt in powerful Taiwan quake

AFTERMATH. Firefighters work at the site where a building collapsed following the earthquake, in Hualien, Taiwan, in this handout provided by Taiwan's National Fire Agency on April 3, 2024.

Taiwan National Fire Agency/Handout via REUTERS

(3rd UPDATE) No Filipinos are reported dead or missing as of April 5

MANILA, Philippines – At least four Filipinos were reported injured following the powerful magnitude 7.2 earthquake which struck Taiwan on Wednesday, April 3, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) reported.

The three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) – two from Taoyuan and one from Yilan county – suffered “minor” injuries, DMW officer-in-charge Hans Cacdac said in a briefing on Thursday, April 4. Cacdac confirmed a fourth one on Friday, April 5.

These were the first three reported injuries – none were reported to Philippine authorities on Wednesday. There were also no reports of missing or killed Filipinos so far, nor Filipinos requesting repatriation.

One of them suffered an head injury from debris falling off a ceiling. The OFW was brought to the hospital, but was discharged as of Wednesday.

Another one from Yilan was injured while evacuating. “She was in the course of evacuation, probably in a bit of a hurry, understandably. Her two hands slammed into a door, which became swollen,” Cacdac said in a mix of English and Filipino.

This worker, too, was hospitalized, but has also been discharged.

The third worker collapsed after the quake occurred, likely due to “stress.” As of Thursday morning, she was still hospitalized, but for “medical precautionary measures,” Cacdac said.

All three will receive P30,000 in financial assistance from the DMW. 

The DMW reported a fourth Filipino who was injured on Friday, April 5. She sustained head injuries from falling debris, but according to a Cacdac post on X, “She is out of harm’s way and is being treated by a doctor.”

Details of her location and available aid for her have yet to be disclosed.

The quake, which occurred at 7:58 am on Wednesday, was the strongest to hit Taiwan in at least 25 years, killing at least seven people and injuring hundreds. It caused the loss of electricity for over 80,000 households in Taiwan.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology issued a tsunami warning for northern Philippine provinces following the quake, particularly Batanes, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, and Isabela. However, it was lifted by 10:33 am.

According to data from Taiwan’s Ministry of Labor, there are 159,480 Filipinos in Taiwan, 150,666 of whom are OFWs, as of February 2024.

On Wednesday afternoon, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued a statement in solidarity with Taiwan, and said that the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) was ensuring the safety of all Filipinos on the island state.

“We stand ready to assist and support our fellow Filipinos in Taiwan in any way possible during this difficult period,” said Marcos.

‘Trabaho pa rin’

Maria Theresa Padin, a Filipino factory worker in Taoyuan, shared in a Facebook post her experience with her co-workers when the quake struck.

Padin’s videos show the workers ducking and taking cover in their workplace, accompanied by distressed shouting. They evacuated to an open area outside.

During earthquake, ‘yung gusto mong lumabas pero nasa fifth floor kayo…. Trabaho pa rin kahit madaming aftershock,” she said. (You want to leave the building but you’re on the fifth floor…. Work continues even though there are a lot of aftershocks.)

4 Filipinos hurt in powerful Taiwan quake

Padin told Rappler that they began working again an hour after the quake occurred.

Okay naman po kami lahat, walang nasaktan…. After one hour, nagproduction po ulit kami hanggang ngayon,” she said past 3 pm. (We’re all okay, no one was hurt…. After one hour, we started production again.)

The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) on Wednesday opened a Help Desk for OFWs and their families who needed assistance following the quake.

The Help Desk will also cater to Filipino families seeking information about the conditions of their loved ones in Taiwan.

Philippine contact numbers:

  • Hotlines: 8522-3663 / 8376-6352 / 8426-0833 / 8293-9155 / 8252-1972
  • Mobile: +63 919 067 3975

Taiwan contact numbers:

  • Taipei: +886 932-218-057
  • Kaoshiung: +886 988-976-596
  • Taichung: +886 966-537-732

OFWs and their families can also email repat@dmw.gov.ph for assistance.

Philippine telco Globe also offered free roaming services for Filipinos in Taiwan.

According to data from Taiwan’s Ministry of Labor, there are 159,480 Filipinos in Taiwan, 150,666 of whom are OFWs, as of February 2024.

Cacdac said on Thursday that psychosocial counseling was available if needed for OFWs in Taiwan. Philippine offices in Taiwan have help in monitoring the 150,000 workers from Filipino community leaders, employers, worker representatives in factories, and the Taiwan’s government as well.

Over 50% of OFWs in Taiwan are factory workers, while around 35% are caretakers and household workers.– with reports from Reuters/Rappler.com

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a multimedia reporter at Rappler. She covers the rights of women and children, migrant Filipinos, and labor.