Taiwan rejects Manila push for deportation of Filipina caregiver


TAIPEH: Taiwan's foreign ministry has rejected reported attempts by the Philippines to secure the deportation of a Filipina worker accused of "cyber-libel" against President Rodrigo Duterte.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokeswoman Joanne Ou (pic) stated in a news conference on Tuesday (April 28) that Taiwan is a democratic country and all foreign workers have the same treatment as Taiwan citizens and that "their rights are protected, including freedom of speech."

Ou made the remarks in response to questions about reports that Manila's Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) had pushed Taipei to deport a Filipina caregiver for alleged libel against Duterte on her Facebook page under a Philippine law criminalizing dissemination of "fake news" during the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Philippine media also reported that DOLE agents had met the worker, her employer and broker to "enlighten" her that her actions "amounted to a crime."

Ou added that Manila should follow "legal procedures" through bilateral judicial assistance channels if it believed the worker in question had violated Philippine law.

The MOFA spokeswoman added that "other countries should respect our system" and said "no agency has the right to exert pressure on this worker or her employer or labour broker."

Although Ou said the DOLE had denied the media reports, Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque told reporters on Tuesday that Manila was "looking into this."

"We approve of MOFA's affirmation that foreign workers have the same rights as citizens, including freedom of speech," Taiwan Association for Human Rights secretary-general Shih Yi-hsiang told dpa. -- dpa
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