Taiwan issues 3-day ultimatum, threatens to freeze hiring of Pinoy workers
At dock is Taiwan fishing boat in encounter with PHL Coast Guard. Guang Ta Hsin 28 fishing vessel arrives at Liuqiu in Pingtung County, southern Taiwan May 11, 2013. A Philippines fisheries official said one of its vessels, acting under the threat of being rammed, opened fire on Thursday on Guang Ta Hsin 28 fishing vessel about 170 nautical miles southeast of Taiwan, killing one person on board. Reuters
Taiwan on Saturday threatened to freeze the applications of Filipino workers within three days - or 72 hours - if the Philippines does not respond to its requests stemming from the fatal shooting of a fisherman in disputed waters Thursday.
A report on Taiwan's Central News Agency said President Ma Ying-jeou gave the 72-hour ultimatum, warning of the consequences on Filipino laborers seeking work in Taiwan.
Ma convened a high-ranking meeting Saturday night, and decided on four demands from the Philippines, the report said. These included:
- issue a formal apology
- compensate the losses
- get to the bottom of the incident and punish the perpetrators of the killing
- open fishery agreement talks between the Philippines and Taiwan soonest
Presidential Office spokeswoman Garfie Li said that if Manila can not give a positive response within 72 hours, the applications of Filipino laborers will be suspended.
Taiwan will also recall its representative to the Philippines and request that Philippine representative to Taiwan return to Manila, the CNA report said.
Last Thursday, Philippine forces fired at the Taiwanese boat "Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28" following an encounter at disputed waters off Extreme Northern Luzon.
A 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman was shot dead in the incident, even as the Coast Guard said its initial reports indicated the boat tried to ram the Philippine vessel.
Meanwhile, the CNA said the Philippine Coast Guard has brought back a video of the incident, but it will not be published for now.
It quoted Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Armand Balilo as saying the footage will be submitted to the investigators. — ELR, GMA News
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