Drilon wants PH labor attaché in Taiwan recalled; to probe OFW deportation issue

MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday urged Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to recall Manila’s labor attaché in Taiwan who earlier sought the deportation of a Filipina caregiver who was critical of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement, Drilon said Philippine Labor Attaché in Taichung Fidel Macauyag is “unfit, incompetent and totally unqualified” to ensure the welfare of thousands of overseas Filipino workers in Taiwan.

“Mr. Macauyag’s irresponsible act toward a helpless overseas Filipino worker is clearly an abandonment of his sworn duties to protect the welfare of OFWs,” the senator, a former secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), said.

In a statement last April 25,  Macauyag said he sought the deportation of caregiver Elanel Ordidor for alleged cyber libel over her posts against Duterte which he said “intended to cause hatred” amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“When a protector becomes the persecutor, you can’t help but ask: is this the new normal?” Drilon said.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has since rejected the move, noting that the rights and interests of their citizens, as well as foreign workers, are protected under their laws.

This includes the freedom of speech “which should be respected by governments of all countries,” MOFA was quoted as saying in a statement.

Drilon said he would also push for an investigation into the issue to help in legislating measures that would strengthen the protection of the millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“A mere labor attaché requesting a sovereign country to deport a foreign worker over a social media post is stupidity at the highest level,” the senator said.

“His mandate is to promote the welfare of our OFWs. He has shown the highest level of ignorance. Worse, his action embarrassed the Philippine government,” he added.

Malacañang and Manila Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) both denied that there is a request to have Ordidor deported from Taiwan.