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Manila to apologize for fisherman's death

(China Daily)

08:13, May 15, 2013

Demonstrators protest near the Philippine consulate in Hong Kong on Tuesday. A Taiwan fisherman was killed by the Philippine Coast Guard on Thursday. TYRONE SIU / REUTERS

The Philippines on Tuesday agreed to apologize for the fatal shooting last week of a fisherman from Taiwan by Filipino coast guard officers.

The agreement was announced hours before an ultimatum from Taiwan for an apology was due to expire at midnight.

Manila agreed to apologize, clarify the truth, punish those held responsible and start early negotiations with Taiwan on a fishery agreement.

But it has not officially agreed to pay compensation for the incident, in which coast guards killed a 65-year-old fisherman on Thursday, Taiwan media reported.

Reports said the Philippines will send Amadeo Perez, chairman and chief executive officer of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office, as an envoy to Taiwan on Wednesday to make a promise on compensation and to visit the victim's family.

Observers said the deal, in which Manila acknowledges its mistakes, can largely satisfy Taiwan's demands and ease public outrage on the island.

On Saturday, Taipei issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the Philippines to make an official apology, or face sanctions including a freeze on sending Filipino workers to the island.

There are about 87,000 Filipino domestic helpers and other workers in Taiwan, who send home hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Taiwan also sent four coast guard and naval vessels to protect its fishermen in waters near the Philippines at the weekend.

It is unclear whether Taiwan will still conduct a naval drill in the waters where Hung Shih-cheng, skipper of the 15-metric-ton Guang Ta Hsin 28 was shot dead. Taiwan authorities said earlier on Tuesday the decision would depend on the reaction of the Philippine government.

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