The head of the Philippines’ de facto embassy in Taiwan said that the Taiwan government has taken measures to ensure the safety of Filipino workers if China uses military force against Taiwan.
Silvestre Bello III, Chair of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), Manila’s representative office in Taiwan, was cited by the Presidential Communications Office as saying that the National Police Agency has readied “89,000 shelters that can accommodate more than the total population of Taiwan.” At a media forum in Quezon City on Saturday (May 13), Bello reported stated, “I met with the director general together with the head of the home Civilian Defense of Taiwan, and they assured us that they will also protect our countrymen there.”
According to Bello, there are approximately 160,000 Filipino migrant workers employed in Taiwan’s manufacturing plants, accounting for 90 percent of the workforce. He added that other Filipinos are employed in Taiwan as teachers, farmers, and hospitality workers.
During a speech at the 8th Manila Forum on April 14, Ambassador of China to the Philippines Huang Xilian referenced the fate of 160,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Taiwan, if Manila supports the US and Taiwan independence. This elevated concerns among OFWs regarding their safety in Taiwan if China takes military action.
At Saturday’s press conference, Bello sought to reassure concerned Filipinos, saying that “in Taiwan, everything is normal.” Bello said that in the unlikely event of a national emergency, “like for example, an earthquake or even war the Taiwanese government is prepared not only to protect their own people, but even Filipinos, especially our workers.”