Some 17 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) left Manila on Monday morning to work in electronic factories in Taiwan.
The OFWs, who were wearing t-shirts with “I Love Taiwan” in Chinese characters written in front and flags of both countries in the back, boarded a 10:45 a.m. China Airlines flight CI-702.
The workers were issued work visas by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) before May 15, when Taiwan government imposed sanctions against the Philippines such as the freezing of applications for work permits, and the cessation of economic exchanges and military exercises between the two sides.
Diplomatic ties between Manila and Taipei have been strained by the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by Filipino Coast Guard members in the Balintang Channel two weeks ago.
A jovial Rowena Lou Manuel, 32, said her group is bound to Hsinchu City, the home to 360 high-tech electronics companies.
She said she is not afraid of the repercussions of the Balintang incident on Filipino workers in Taiwan.
“I need to work. Besides, we were told that our place of work was far from the trouble areas,” Manuel said.
She said most of her colleagues had already worked in Hsinchu. “We know the place. We’re just returning there,” Manuel said, adding that their monthly salary will be the equivalent of P30,000.
Manuel’s fellow workers are Jacqueline Corpin, Evangeline Perez, Princess Presa, Zenaida Salazar, Lolita Tagalag, Annalyn Atienza, Jennifer Bacarias, Hazel Sanchez, Sandy Grace Burlacio, Diana Ross Molina, Nora Quntapay, Jerome Buduan, Marlon Dogelio, Benigno Langcay, Andrew Remolocio and Ferdinand Villaverde.