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October 2000 Volume 7 Number 10
There are about 120,000 Filipinos employed legally in Taiwan, and Taiwan's Council of Labor Affairs in September 2000 extended indefinitely a June 1, 2000 ban on additional Filipino workers, citing labor-related issues such as rising medical bills as well as the current airline dispute that has stopped direct flights between the countries. Filipinos are about 35 percent of the 300,000 foreign workers in Taiwan.<< back
Taiwan's CLA said that the Philippine government had failed to address the growing number of migrant runaways and interfered too much in disputes between employees and employers. Many of the problems arose from efforts by the Philippine government to regulate the fees that labor brokers can charge migrants for jobs. Other Asian governments do not intervene, or do not regulate brokers' fees effectively. The Philippines has 33 offices in Asia, the Middle East and Europe to provide assistance to Filipino migrants.
On September 26, 2000 Taiwan and the Philippines signed an agreement to immediately restore air links under a 1996 bilateral aviation pact. Under the new agreement, Taiwan's China Airlines and EVA Airways are allowed to carry 6,500 passengers every week on the Taipei-Manila and Kaohsiung-Manila routes.
Taiwan's Council of Labor Affairs will train about 800,000 local workers to be domestic servants in order to reduce the demand for foreign maids. However, it was noted that it may be hard persuade local workers to accept low-wage domestic work; the low wages are one reason why foreign maids are hired.
The National Security Bureau reported that 80,000 mainland Chinese are in Taiwan, including 30,000 long-term residents.
Philippines. The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) puts the number of Filipinos abroad at 5.5 million in 152 countries, led by two million in the US, 850,000 in Saudi Arabia, and 621,000 in Malaysia. In their accounting, the POEA lumps together immigrants and guest workers. These overseas Filipinos remitted $6.8 billion in 1999. Most of the 800,000 Filipinos who go overseas each year are maids. There are about 200,000 Filipinos on the world's ships at any one time.
The Philippines attracted almost $6 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 1996, but may only attract $2 billion in 2000, about the same as in 1999. Foreign investment has slowed for many reasons, including concerns about terrorism and cronyism. The government had hoped that jobs created by FDI would reduce employment and slow emigration. The 10-nation Association of South East Asian Nations (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) reported that foreign investment has fallen sharply in the region, with much of the FDI diverted to China.
The Philippine peso fell to a three-year low in September 2000, as foreign investors began to wonder about the future growth of the economy. The country attracted almost $6 billion in foreign direct investment in 1996, but may only attract $2 billion in 2000, about the same as in 1999. Foreign investment has slowed for many reasons, including concerns about terrorism and cronyism.
"Philippine sees Taipei lifting labor limits following air link accord," Agence France Presse, September 27, 2000. "Taiwan, Philippines sign accord t restore air links," Agence France Presse, September 26, 2000. Deborah Kuo, "Labor Council to Train Local Domestic Helpers," Central News Agency, September 12, 2000. "Philippines could lose one billion dollars from Taiwan labor ban," Agence France Presse, September 6, 2000. Jacqueline P. Conclara, "Taiwan extends indefinitely hiring ban on Filipino workers," BusinessWorld, September 4, 2000. "Manila Extends Legal Aid to Overseas Workers," Xinhua, September 2, 2000. Terence Tan, "Taiwan will not change its policies on overseas Chinese," Straits Times, July 19 2000.