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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Law enforcement cooperation

"The Philippines and Taiwan are working so well together."

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Cooperation between law enforcement agencies of the Philippines and Taiwan have reached new heights during the past year with the series of successful operations that have brought high-profile criminals before the bar of justice.

In May last year, Taiwan police tracked and apprehended high-profile fugitive Ricardo Parojinog Jr. in his hideout in Pingtung, a fishing village south of the island.

Parojinog, wanted on drug charges, fled to Taiwan purportedly posing as a fisherman to escape from Philippines authorities.

Philippine National Police intelligence operatives, however, received a tip regarding Parojinog’s movements and immediately coordinated with counterparts in Taiwan.

Sparing no time, Taiwan police tapped into its own intelligence network and traced Parojinog in the multi-story apartment building where he was staying and captured him. He was eventually turned over to Philippine authorities to face trial.

A few months later, it was the Philippines’ turn to help Taiwan in pursuing a suspect in a high-profile case involving an an Israeli-American immigrant who, along with several accomplices, murdered a Canadian national whom they suspected of having turned to authorities regarding their drug dealing activities.

The incident drew national attention for its gruesomeness with Oren Shlomo Mayer and another suspect chopping their victim’s body into pieces and discarding them in the city’s riverbanks in an attempt to hide the crime.

Mayer fled to the Philippines before Taiwanese police could arrest him but swift coordination with the PNP Directorate for Intelligence led to his immediate arrest in Cainta, Rizal in September 2018.

Just recently, before Taiwan celebrates the Lunar New Year, another fugitive from Taiwan, former Tainan County council speaker Wu Chien Pao was arrested in Taguig City after evading authorities for more than four years.

Wu was meted prison time in 2014 for involvement in a baseball game fixing scandal but eluded the sentence by fleeing to the Philippines.

Efficient cooperation between Philippines and Taiwan authorities led anew to Wu’s arrest inside the Subic free port zone.

 I was told that many other cases are still on the desks of these counterpart agencies—the Taiwan National Police Administration, Criminal Investigation Bureau and the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau and the Philippines’ national police, drug enforcement agency and National Bureau of Investigation—being worked on. These, however, are cloaked in secrecy to ensure operational effectiveness.

Friends from law enforcement admit that this high-level of cooperation has never been this fruitful since the time of then PNP chief and now Senator Panfilo Lacson, who curbed the rash of kidnappings of Filipino-overseas Chinese businessmen at that time.

Today, the new and greater public enemy which is the proliferation of illegal drugs transcends international boundaries, which requires, more so, greater cooperation between Philippine and foreign law enforcement agencies.

To the men and women of Philippines and Taiwan law enforcement agencies, congratulations and keep up the good work!

* * *

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior released statistical findings which show that between 2017 and 2018, Taiwan’s population grew by just 18,000, a new low of 0.08 percent, or under one thousandth of the previous year’s total of 23.5 million.

 Compare that to the Philippines, where growth is still some 2 percent each year.  We now have a population of 107 million. 

Taiwan’s factories will need more migrant workers in the years to come, although the US-China trade war, if it intensifies, would dampen economic growth, as Taiwan’s economy is inextricably linked to the world’s largest economies.

Like Japan, Taiwan’s population is an increasingly “aged” one, with life expectancy long and birthrates low.

But this is no reason for “pro-life” advocates to crow, because our economy on the other hand, has been more and more dependent on OFW remittances and BPO earnings, both of which are threatened in the medium and long term by external factors beyond the control of our political and economic leadership.

The Middle East market is cooling down; Trump is tightening immigration.

BPOs are threatened by artificial intelligence, which has become the wave of the future.

We need to create jobs in our country, whether in industry, services or agriculture.  And while there has been growth in investments which create domestic jobs, and growth in tourism owing to the Chinese travel market which in turn is a direct result of President Duterte’s apertura Sinica, agriculture, which employs some 40% of our work force, is a laggard.

There are so many things that we as a nation have to be doing all at the same time just to catch up with our neighbors, the result of decades of short-sighted policies and corruption-laden implementation. And in a time of advanced technologies where AI supplants semi-skilled workers, catching up is so very hard to do. 

* * *

We extend our condolences to the bereaved family of Mr. Henry Sy Sr., who recently died at the age of 94.

Many years ago, when I was a young businessman engaged among others in wholesale fruit marketing in Manila with the family-grown pomelos from Davao City, which I labelled “Golden,” Mr. Sy was a regular customer at a retail outlet.

“Gua kan di buey” (I will buy from you), he told me after tasting our pomelos at the United Supermart in Makati.  For some time, his secretary would order fruits which we would deliver to his residence.

Years after, I bumped into him at the airport in Xiamen, after I attended an international conference in Beijing.  He looked at me intently, and asked where we had met before.  When I told him about the pomelos and our family selling the property because none of us siblings were cut up for farming, he told me that we all just have to try our best in whatever endeavor we are into, and wished me good luck.

Hail and farewell, Mr. Henry Sy Sr.


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