(PILMAT), the association of licensed overseas employment agencies
responsible for deploying thousands of overseas Filipino workers to Taiwan,
yesterday said not a single OFW will lose his or her job just because Taiwan
is signing an economic cooperation agreement with the People's Republic of
"Contrary to the scare scenario painted by the National Economic and
Development Authority (NEDA), Taiwan will not be sending home OFWs in droves
once it signs an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with the
PROC," he said.
Gan, who is also the Vice President of the Federated Associations of
Manpower Exporters, Inc., also lambasted NEDA acting secretary general
Augusto B. Santos for being an alarmist on a yet to be consummated
"The warning of Sec. Santos that Filipinos in Taiwan may lose their jobs;
that Taiwanese foreign direct investments in the Philippines may drop; and
that Philippine tourism may enormously suffer, is without factual basis and
is sending the wrong signal to the people," he said.
Last week, Santos warned about job and investment losses as a result of the
PROC forging closer economic cooperation ties with neighboring Taiwan,
saying the agreement could drive Taiwan manufacturers to mainland China
because of cheap labor and other business attractions.
Gan said this warning is without basis because while the investment climate
in China is now more liberal, there is little likelihood that the
electronics manufacturing sector-Taiwan's economic pillar which employs
thousands of Filipinos-will transfer immediately to China because of
national security concerns.
He explained that the sector is not among the 99 industries and business
lines that Taiwan would likely liberalize because its defense ministry is
not too keen about the ECFA.
Taiwanese electronics manufacturing companies are not also warm to the idea
of hiring Chinese mainlanders because of security risks, such as sabotage,
piracy and counterfeiting.
He cited the example of Hong Kong which returned to the possession of China
in 1997, but still has not lost its economic and financial luster nor its
investments and workers despite China's aggressive economic liberalization
Another reason the ECFA is not yet a 'done deal' as Santos projected is that
there is too much domestic opposition in Taiwan, particularly from women
groups, to the agreement.
"Taiwanese opposition to the ECFA say the agreement will impact not only on
trade and the economy, but also on politics, sovereignty, society and
culture. Hence, they are calling for further debates, even a referendum, on
the ECFA," Gan explained.
"Some Taiwanese are saying that the "complete trade opening which would
follow the accord would also influence Taiwan's democratic way of life, its
public order and its common values, which are totally different compared to
communist-dominated China", the PILMAT president added.
As to the Philippines, Gan called on the NEDA to work closely with the
Department of Labor and Employment and the Overseas Workers Welfare
Administration in fashioning out a long-term and viable OFW reintegration
program that could be quickly and effectively implemented if and when the
China-Taiwan ECFA becomes a reality.
"Alarming the people on dire things yet to calm is not helpful," Gan said.
OFW Journalism Consortium