Taiwan refuses to deport Filipina worker critical of Duterte

30-Apr-2020 Intellasia | CNN | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Taiwan rejected on Tuesday the move to deport the Filipina worker critical of President Rodrigo Duterte, on the grounds that the overseas worker has not violated its country’s laws.

In a press briefing, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the rights and interests of its foreign workers are protected by the country’s laws and regulations.

The ministry added that it is willing to coordinate with the Philippines regarding the issue, provided that the latter submits a request for mutual legal assistance through diplomatic channels.

In a statement, the Department of Labour and Employment earlier accused the Filipina of cyberlibel for “willful posting of nasty and malevolent materials against President Duterte on Facebook intended to cause hatred amidst the global health crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Philippine Overseas Labour Office in Taiwan said it got in touch with the OFW’s broker and employer on her deportation. However, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque denied on Sunday that Malacanang has requested for the deportation of the caregiver.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International Philippines called on authorities to drop their probe and threats of deportation against the Filipina, adding that the “alarming move” undermines freedom of speech.

“The Philippine government must drop its investigation of the OFW solely for her peaceful expression of dissent, and abolish its plan to initiate deportation proceedings against her,” Amnesty International Philippines Section director Butch Olano said in a statement.

The human rights group also accused the Duterte government of “cracking down on dissent,” adding that the latter carries out a “repressive campaign” through its Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

The law, which grants the President special powers to address the COVID-19 pandemic, also penalises those who create or perpetuate false information amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to the human rights group, the State is using the said law to silence those who speak up against the administration “through its use of the vaguely worded and overbroad provision” against fake news.

“Any limitation on the right to freedom of expression in light of the pandemic must be provided clearly in law, and must be necessary and proportionate for the protection of public health or other legitimate purpose under international human rights law. Neither is the case in the situation of the OFW now being singled out for her critical opinion,” the group said.

It also commended those who continue to be critical “despite authorities’ relentless and unjustified measures to mute dissent.”

Meanwhile, retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio earlier stated that Filipinos being penalised for criticising the government should know better than to be “intimidated” by authorities.

“The rule is you cannot punish speech, expression unless there is a clear and present danger that the expression invites imminent lawless action from the person who hears or reads it,” Carpio said. “There’s a very high bar that they (police) have to overcome.”



Category: Philippines

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