Taiwan to start 5-month amnesty program for overstaying foreigners

Marje Pelayo   •   January 8, 2019   •   3137

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Overstaying foreign nationals will soon have the chance to rectify their status in the country.

Taiwan’s National Immigration Agency (NIA) said the government is working on starting a five-month amnesty program for overstaying foreign nationals.

This will allow them to pay smaller fines once they report to immigration authorities on a given period.

The NIA said the number of overstaying foreigners has increased to 88,000 as of October 2018.

To address this problem, the government will introduce a five-year amnesty program which will start from February to June.

Within the said period, overstays will be subject to a reduced fine and shortened re-entry ban without mandatory detention.

Meanwhile, the maximum penalty will be NT$2,000 (P3,400) and a re-entry ban compared with detention.

Those who do not voluntarily contact immigration authorities will face a maximum fine of NT$10,000 (P17,000) and an entry ban of eight years.

According to the NIA, the largest number of overstaying foreign nationals are mostly composed of migrant workers, and their total has reached 51, 982 as of November 2018.

Of the said number, a total of 24, 267 are Vietnamese and 24, 176 are Indonesians.

Likewise, the NIA calls on overstaying foreigners to report to authorities all brokers and employers in Taiwan who hire illegal workers so that the government can take legal actions against them.

Overstaying foreign nationals and those who want  to report brokers and employers hiring illegal workers may call the agency’s toll-free hotline 0800-024-881. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Amiel Pascual)

Two Filipinos confirmed dead in Taiwan bridge collapse

Marje Pelayo   •   October 2, 2019

Rescuers conduct a retrieval operation in the scene of the collapsed Nanfangao Bridge in Nanfangao, Yilan County, northeastern Taiwan, 01 October 2019. The arch bridge collapsed on 01 October 2019 after an oil tanker crossed on to the bridge. The structural failure caused the tanker to fall into the waterway and ignite. The accident left 12 people injured, including the tanker driver, 2 dead and 4 missing. EPA-EFE/RITCHIE B. TONGO

MANILA, Philippines – The remains of two Filipino fishermen were finally recovered on Wednesday (October 2) after they went missing when the 140-meter Nanfang’ao Bridge collapsed over them in Yilan, Taiwan, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) confirmed in a statement.

The two Filipinos were identified as Andree Abregana Serencio and Gorge Jagmis Impang.

Meanwhile, search and rescue operation is still on-going on the site as one Filipino fisherman identified as Romulo Ilustrisimo Escalicas Jr., remains missing.

“We will assist in the repat of human remains and to process all benefits and entitlements arising from the accident,” assured Rolly Francia, Information and Public Service Director of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Francia noted that Impang’s next of kin will receive all benefits as he is an active member of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

Serencio, however, has no active record of membership since 2017.

According to Yilan Fire Bureau, the bodies of Impang and Serencio were among the missing fishermen in the tragedy.

The other two recovered bodies were those of the two Indonesian fishermen Wartono and Ersona, according to authorities.

Nine other fishermen were injured in the incident, including five Filipinos who, according to DOLE were all brought to Poai Hospital and Kong Min Hospital in Yilan County.

The five fishermen are now safe.

“Nagpadala kami ng mga tao doon both sa MECO at sa OWWA Welfare Officer natin para matulungan yung mga kababayan natin, (We have representatives from MECO and OWWA to help them,)” assured MECO Chairman Angelito Banayo.

“Kinausap din (natin) iyong mga agencies at mga ahente nitong mga ito para masiguradong sagot ng kanilang insurance, (We also coordinated with their agencies and agents to make sure they receive the insurance benefits),” he concluded. MNP (with details from Amiel Pascual)

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Taiwan bridge collapse crushes fishing boats, some crew feared trapped

Robie de Guzman   •   October 1, 2019

Rescuers conduct an inspection at the collapsed Nanfangao Bridge in Nanfangao, Yilan County, northeastern Taiwan, 01 October 2019. According to media reports, the collapse occurred soon after an oil tanker crossed onto the bridge. The structural failure caused the tanker to fall into the waterway and ignite. Civilian and military rescuers have rescued 10 people, including oil the tanker’s drivers. EPA-EFE/RITCHIE B. TONGO

A bridge collapsed into a harbor in northeastern Taiwan on Tuesday (October 1), crushing several fishing boats with some crew feared trapped, authorities said.

The bridge collapsed at around 9:30am local time while an oil tanker was on it, setting the vehicle on fire, local official said.

At least nine people fell in the water and seven were rescued, Taiwan’s Central News Agency said. Six people were seriously injured, it reported.

Divers were searching for those feared trapped in a couple of fishing boats, two government officials from the port township of Su’ao told Reuters.

Authorities have set up an emergency center and the military said marines and the navy were helping with the rescue efforts.

The collapse of the bridge, which carries traffic over the busy fishing port, damaged three fishing boats and two vehicles, including the tanker, the officials said, though the reason for the collapse in clear weather was not immediately clear. (Reuters)

(Production: Fabian Hamacher, Arshad Satikin, Sophia Soo)

Taiwan braces for typhoon Mitag

Robie de Guzman   •   October 1, 2019

People struggle with the wind as they cross the street under the rain as typhoon Mitag is expected to hit northern Taiwan, in Keelung, Taiwan, 30 September 2019. EPA-EFE/RITCHIE B. TONGO

Taiwan shut down its financial markets and ordered schools closed on Monday (September 30) as a typhoon approached its north-eastern coast, while airlines cancelled more than 150 flights amid warnings of floods and high winds.

Typhoon Mitag, categorised by Taiwan’s weather bureau at the second-strongest typhoon level, was expected to approach the coast of Yilan county with maximum winds of 162 kmph (100 mph) on Monday night.

It was moving across the ocean in a north-north-westerly direction at 25 kmph (15 mph), weather officials said, and could gain strength as it approaches the island.

About 12,000 soldiers were on standby amid fears of floods and storm surge, preparing villages for flood waters with truck-loads of sand bags.

More than 150 flights and ferry services were cancelled, while several highways across the island were shut amid fears of landslides and floods.

After passing over Taiwan, the typhoon was expected to approach China’s eastern city of Shanghai on Tuesday, forecasts showed. (Reuters)

(Production: Fabian Hamacher)

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