MANILA – The representative of the Philippine government in Taiwan assured his citizens on Wednesday that he would not restrict freedom of expression following a supposed call to expel a migrant worker for defamatory speech against President Rodrigo Duterte.
The president of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), Angelito Banayo, had previously denied the existence of an expulsion order for a Filipino caregiver in Yunlin county.
Speaking to the ANC, Banayo said that a labor official in Manila had brought the caregiver’s social media message against the president to the attention of a Filipino official in Taichung.
This prompted Taichung’s labor official to act “unilaterally,” he added.
“Apparently, it was either the work attaché, acting unilaterally, or received instructions from the home office,” he told the ANC.
“I want to reassure people, you know that I have been the subject of 6 defamation cases in the past … I would be the last person to accept any restriction on freedom of expression.”
Banayo said he then officially wrote to the Taiwan Foreign Ministry to explain the situation. The agency has since dismissed the caregiver’s appeal for eviction.
The Filipino migrant worker is expected to appear before Filipino labor officials in Yunlin country to explain the incident, said Banayo.
ANC, MECO, Taiwan, OFW, Manila Economic and Cultural Office, Angelito Banayo, Filipino worker abroad, defamation, freedom of expression