Taiwan rebukes Roque: China has no say on deportation of anti-Duterte OFW

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 30) — The Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called out Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque for saying China can decide on the deportation of an overseas Filipino working in Taiwan.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Joanna Ou reacted to the comment of Roque that China has a hand in the Philippine government's call to deport a caregiver for berating President Rodrigo Duterte online because Taiwan is a part of China.

"My country expresses strong dissatisfaction and high regret over Philippine government officials wrongly accusing Taiwan as part of China," Ou said on Wednesday, as quoted by Taiwan state media.

The Philippines' Labor Department has sought the deportation of Filipina Elanel Egot Ordidor, who works as a caregiver in Yunlin County, for her alleged "nasty and malevolent" criticisms against Duterte in a video posted on her Facebook page.

Taiwan has rejected the call, saying she did not violate its laws. But Roque insisted a decision can also be made by China, which has warm ties to the Duterte administration.

"It's really a decision to be made by Taiwanese authorities, which forms part of China. We leave that wholly to the jurisdiction of Taiwan and China. Taiwan is part of China," Roque said in an interview with ABS-CBN on Wednesday.

Ou reiterated Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country.

"China has never ruled Taiwan for one day, and only the popularly elected Taiwan government can represent the country's 23 million people internationally," she said.

This is the second spat in recent months between Taiwan and Philippines because the Duterte administration officials lumped the self-administered island with China.

In February, the Philippine government included Taiwan in the travel ban imposed on China to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease. Philippine health officials reasoned out that the World Health Organization noted Taiwan as part of China.

China and Taiwan separated in 1949 following the victory of communist forces under Mao Zedong in a civil war that saw the Chinese Nationalists flee to the island. Since then, the two sides have been governed separately.

The Philippines follows a One China policy that recognizes Taiwan as a part of China. It limits ties with Taipei to economic, cultural and other unofficial dealings.