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Philippine envoy to apologize to family of dead fisherman

2013/08/08 11:08:03

Taipei, Aug. 8 (CNA) An envoy authorized by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III is set to apologize Thursday shortly after his arrival in Taiwan to the family of a Taiwanese fisherman who was shot dead by Philippine coast guard personnel in May.

Amadeo Perez Jr., chairman of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), has been authorized to "personally convey the president's and the Filipino people's deep regret and apology to the family" for "the unfortunate loss" of Hung Shih-cheng's life, MECO said in a statement late Wednesday.

Perez was expected to travel to southern Taiwan later in the day to visit the family in Liouciou Township, Pingtung County, MECO said.

MECO is the Philippine institution responsible for handling relations with Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties.

Perez will later meet with Foreign Minister David Lin to brief him on actions taken with regard to the incident, MECO said.

He is accompanied by the Philippines' representative to Taiwan Antonio Basilio and MECO Director Manuel Dimaculangan, according to MECO.

Perez's visit came one day after both Taiwan and the Philippines released reports on their respective investigations into the incident.

The Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) announced that it has recommended homicide charges against eight Filipino coast guard officers involved in the fatal shooting.

Hung, a 65-year-old fisherman, was killed in the May 9 incident, during which Taiwanese fishing boat the Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28 was sprayed with gunfire from a Philippine coast guard vessel while operating in the two countries' overlapping exclusive economic zones.

The incident has caused a rise in bilateral tension. Taiwan has imposed a number of sanctions against the Philippines over the incident, including a freeze on the hiring of Filipino workers, and said the sanctions will not be lifted until Manila meets four demands from Taipei.

The Taiwan government has demanded a formal apology, punishment of those responsible for the shooting, compensation for the Hung family and bilateral fishery talks to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents in the future.

(By Elaine Hou)