Two Filipinos confirmed dead in Taiwan bridge collapse

Marje Pelayo   •   October 2, 2019   •   718

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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Check in but go nowhere: Taiwan offers fake flights for travel-starved tourists

UNTV News   •   July 3, 2020

Starved of the travel experience during the coronavirus lockdown? One airport in Taiwan has the solution – a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security and even board the aircraft. You just never leave.

Taipei’s downtown Songshan airport on Thursday (July 2) began offering travellers the chance to do just that, with some 60 people hungry to get going, albeit to nowhere.

Around 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen at random. More fake flight experiences will take place in coming weeks.

The passengers got boarding passes, and proceeded through security and immigration before boarding an Airbus A330 of Taiwan’s largest carrier, China Airlines, where flight attendants chatted to them and explained coronavirus prevention methods.

The airport is using the event as a publicity opportunity to show off renovations it has completed while passengers have stayed away.

Songshan usually has flights to Tokyo, Seoul and several Chinese cities, and is also an important domestic hub.

Taiwan has emerged relatively unscathed from the pandemic thanks to early and effective prevention steps, but has largely closed its borders since mid-March and advised its citizens against all overseas travel unless absolutely necessary.

While a handful of international flights have continued, passenger numbers plummeted almost 64 percent in the first five months of 2020 compared with the same period last year, according to the government.

Still, in one bright spot, internal travel is booming.

Taiwan’s two main domestic carriers – China Airlines unit Mandarin Airlines and Eva Air’s Uni Air – have added extra capacity over the summer to Taiwan’s sun-soaked offshore islands and rugged east coast. (Reuters)

(Production: Ann Wang, Martin Pollard, Ben Blanchard)

Taiwan rejects deportation call against Pinay caregiver critical of Duterte

Marje Pelayo   •   April 29, 2020

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The country’s foreign ministry has rejected calls for the deportation of a Filipina caregiver accused of cyber-libel by a Philippine labor official in Taiwan for “willful posting of nasty and malevolent materials against President Duterte.”

In a news conference on Tuesday (April 28), Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokeswoman Joanne Ou noted that as a democratic country, Taiwan gives the same treatment to all foreign workers as its own citizens and that “their rights are protected, including freedom of speech.”

Labor Attaché Fidel Macauyag of the Philippines Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Taichung, Taiwan brought up the issue on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) website on Saturday (April 25).

In a press statement, Macauyag said the Filipina worker’s action “intended to cause hatred amidst the current global health crisis caused by coronavirus disease (COVID-19).”

The Pinay caregiver,  identified as Elanei Egot Ordidor, is employed in Yunlin County in Taiwan.

The official alleged that Ordidor was using multiple social media accounts and joined groups “organized to discredit and malign the President and destabilize the government.”

He said his staff went to warn the OFW of the consequences of her posts on April 20 to which she conceded and assured to delete them and post a public apology to the President and the Philippines government.

His office also has coordinated with the worker’s broker and employer on her deportation on her supposed violation of the Philippines’ Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

In an interview with Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA), Philippine representative and chair of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taipei, Angelito Banayo said there was no instruction coming from the Philippines regarding the matter. 

He also noted that the order for deportation is a sovereign right of Taiwan being the host government.

“So the question of deportation is something that only the Taiwanese government can decide upon,” he said.

Gov’t assures relief assistance to OFWs in countries affected by COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 2, 2020

The Philippine government assures there will be relief assistance for overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in countries affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Based on the report of the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Association (OWWA), over 8,400 OFWs received assistance worth P10,000.

There are also no job losses reported amid the COVID-19 outbreak apart from the OFWs in Macau who are under ‘forced leave’.

OWWA Administrator Hans Cacdac also assures that they are closely monitoring and coordinating with Macau authorities to ensure the welfare of the affected Filipino workers.

“We cannot foresee at this stage any significant job losses. On the contrary, the pool of foreign employers in these affected areas are greater than ever in the sense na nakita nila ang kalidad ng Filipino workers (they can see the quality of Filipino workers),” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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