CHR ‘concerned’ by threats to deport Taiwan OFW for slamming Duterte
MANILA, Philippines – The possible deportation of a Filipina overseas worker in Taiwan due to her criticisms against President Rodrigo Duterte is a ‘cause of concern’ on the tolerance of public officials for dissent, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said on Tuesday.
CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia explained that the primary mandate of the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) — which ordered the deportation of caregiver Elanel Ordidor — is to protect the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFW).
According to De Guia, the free speech of people critical of the government should never be curtailed, even with the existing public health emergency and the enhanced community quarantine over Luzon and other areas that restricts some of the people’s rights.
“It is then a cause of concern when a Labor Attaché works towards the deportation of Filipina caregiver, later named Elanel Egot Ordidor employed in Yunlin County, Taiwan, over what appears to be an exercise of her right to express concerns on the plight of fellow Filipinos in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” De Guia said.
“We continue to remind the government that public service requires a higher tolerance for opinions and criticisms, especially that a democracy works best when there are healthy discourses on governance; thereby, allowing greater accountability from our public officials,” she added.
Labor Attaché Fidel Macauyag said last Saturday that Ordidor would be flown back to the Philippines as her Facebook posts against Duterte were intended “to cause hatred amid the global health crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Ordidor apparently posted on social media several concerns about Duterte’s response to the pandemic, which many critics have labeled delayed and slow-paced.
She eventually vowed to apologize to the President. However, recent reports coming from Taiwan said that the Taiwanese government has rejected the country’s deportation request, saying it was a harassment of the POLO and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) itself.
But the CHR said that the government should focus more on programs that will solve the problems brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected several households especially those in the marginalized sector.
“In the face of a pandemic which threatens almost every aspect of our life, we hope that the government, including its representatives here and abroad, can direct greater efforts in preserving the rights and dignity of Filipinos by finding ways to curb the transmission of the virus and cushion its impacts, especially to vulnerable sectors,” de Guia said.
“We continue to reiterate that laws, including the declaration of a national health emergency, are ultimately meant to protect rights. Holding public office grants powers, but also entails great responsibilities—to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights,” she added.
As of now, COVID-19 cases the ECQ over some Metro Manila and other areas would continue while some of the other provinces with a low COVID-19 incidence would be downgraded to a general community quarantine.
The Department of Health said on Tuesday that there are now 7,958 patients infected with the coronavirus nationwide, of which 530 have died and 975 have recovered. Worldwide, over 3.04 million individuals have been infected, while at least 210,913 have died from the disease and over 889,406 have recovered from it.
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