More Than a Thousand OFWs Laid Off in Taiwan, More to Follow

The Department of Labor and Employment reported that 300 overseas Filipino workers have been terminated in Taiwan so far. But migrant groups said the number of retrenched OFWs is much bigger, hovering around more than a thousand. And that more would be laid off.


The Hong Kong-based Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) criticized Labor Secretary Marianito Roque for reporting that only 300 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been terminated due to the economic crisis in Taiwan.

The APMM cited data from the Hope Workers Center (HWC), a migrant NGO in Taiwan, that 781 have been terminated in Taoyuan alone. The Migrante chapter in Taiwan has also reported that 1,083 workers have been laid off in the whole island. Both the HWC and Migrante-Taiwan reported that more workers would be laid off especially in other industrial areas in Taichung and Kaohsiung.

Migrante-Taiwan reported that 261 Filipinos were terminated in Garmin, which is in Taipei; 46 from Kingtech in Hsinchu; 44 in Syntech in Tainan; six in Meiser in Hsinchu; 173 in Hanstar, Kaohsiung and 93 in Coretronics in three factories in Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung; 87 in Optimax; 27 in Monterey; 120 in Promos; 11 in Acme; 8 in Chroma; six in Hometec; 11 in Gigasolution; 120 in ASE in Kaohsiung; 65 in ASE, Chungli; and five in Halsen in Taipei.

The APMM said it also received reports that manufacturers in the Nantzu Export Processing Zone in Kaohsiung would lay off ten per cent of their work force. The group said most OFWs had to shoulder their own airfare back home as the companies supposedly promised to rehire them some day.

The APMM maintained that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) must ensure that the employers pay for the airfare of those prematurely terminated and for all of their other obligations to their employees including unpaid wages and termination pay as provided for in the Labor Standards Law of Taiwan.

Those who worked for less than 183 days should also be exempted from paying the 20 percent income tax as it would be impossible for them to transfer to other companies, said the APMM.

The APMM added, “Placement agencies, on the other hand, should give back the illegal placement fees exacted on OFWs, amounting to as much as P150,000 ($3,123.698 at the current exchange rate of $1=P48.02).”

The group criticized Taiwan Labor Attaché Rodolfo Sabulao for stating that he would be willing to negotiate, with the companies concerned, payment for half of the cost of airfare for the 65 Filipinos laid off in ASE in Chungli, Taoyuan.

The group also said, “He [Labor Secretary Roque] is also rubbing salt to injury by saying that jobs would await them [OFWs] in the Philippines.”

The group said, “May we also ask DOLE Secretary Roque what kinds of jobs await the laid off workers from Taiwan? As of July 2008, the manufacturing sector in the Philippines already shed 125,000 jobs from the year before and it is quite certain that the number of job losses would continue to grow across sectors as the country is not immune to the unprecedented world economic crisis.”

The APPM said, “Only by rejecting the free market policies of neo-liberal globalization and by embarking on a genuine agrarian reform and real national industrialization will the Philippine government be able to absorb terminated OFWs and the equally large number of unemployed and underemployed Filipinos in the country.” (

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