Diplomatic Bullying

It seems that the Philippines is finding itself on the wrong end of a diplomatic bullying.

Philippines and Taiwan: friends until recently.

The island-nation of Taiwan, which calls itself the ‘Republic of China’, is apparently incensed at the Philippine government. This came as a result of the latter’s decision to deport 14 Taiwanese nationals, suspected of fraud, to the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan’s nemesis and communist alter-ego.

The crime was committed on Chinese nationals, who were allegedly swindled of US$20M by the Taiwanese suspects. The latter’s internet protocol addresses were traced back to the Philippines, where local authorities apprehended them. Mainland China asked for custody of the suspects, and so did Taiwan. As we all know now, Malacanang heeded to the former’s request.

It only made sense: the crime happened in China, the evidence was in China; it was only fair to deport the accused to China. But Taiwan doesn’t see it this way, however. Instead the country thinks the Philippines bowed to China — just as it always does. In fact, the Taiwanese government is so furious at the Philippines’ decision that they intend to pull out their entire US$2B aide to the country. In addition to that, there is another plan to suspend hiring of Filipino workers and instead look at Thailand and Indonesia to fill in their labor gaps.

They have already recalled their envoy, Donald Lee, from the Taipei Economic Cultural Office in Manila.

Taiwan knows they are capable of hurting us, economically speaking. With a foreign reserve amounting to US$400B, indeed they can. But despite that, our country should always stand by what is right no matter what the  consequence is. Some ‘brilliant’ ex-diplomats and lawmakers are now saying the government should have appeased Taiwan to save the OFWs’ jobs. If we did so, just think of what else Taiwan can ask for in the future. Let’s not forget, they have claims for our Batanes Islands in the north.

And of course, let’s not forget how the policy of appeasement caused the deaths of over fifty million people in the 1940’s.

However, if Taiwan were to be trusted, according to them the Manila Economic Cultural Office in Taipei failed to give them updates on the case. They highlighted that it was late when they found out about the Phl government’s decision to send the deportees to China. This angered them.

Clearly, our judicial system has a lot of flaws and our laws are very vague. This has been proven in the past as criminals who were clearly guilty of the crimes they committed managed to be acquitted due to a technicality in the law. Justice Secretary Leila De Lima is right when she says, “We do not wan’t our country to be a haven for international criminals”. The question is, how do we not make our country a haven for international criminals?

We need to reform our laws and be more decisive in executing our policies. We should not hesitate to apprehend criminals just because we are afraid of what their country would say or do. The law is the law, and no one is above it. Not even if you have US$400B of foreign reserves.

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