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Taiwan and Philippines sign legal assistance pact after 2-year discussion

MANILA--Taiwan and the Philippines inked a legal assistance pact Friday after nearly two years of coordination and consultations.

The agreement on legal assistance in criminal matters was signed by Raymond L.S. Wang, head of the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines, and Antonio Basilio, the Philippines' representative to Taiwan, at the Ministry of Justice in Taipei.

Republic of China Deputy Justice Minister Wu Chen-huan and Ricardo Paras III, chief state counsel of the Philippine Department of Justice, witnessed the signing ceremony.

It is the first legal assistance pact signed between Taiwan and a Southeast Asian country.

Under the agreement, the two sides will help identify, search, detain and repatriate suspects, obtain testimony and evidence, identify criminal gains and tools, and provide mutual assistance related to judicial procedure, such as testimony via video conference.

TECO in the Philippines and its counterpart, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taiwan, told CNA that the agreement will protect the personal safety and judicial interests of Taiwanese in the Philippines and nearly 100,000 Filipino workers in Taiwan.

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