The Department of Education of the Miaoli County County Government, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

Three Taiwanese-Filipino children aged between 10 and 13 in Maoli, Taiwan, have been deprived of schooling as their Taiwanese father cannot afford DNA paternity testing that could confirm their legal status and thus eligibility to rights including education.

The father surnamed Chung, who was in an unhappy arranged marriage with a mainland Chinese woman, reportedly left Taiwan to work in the Philippines, where he met his lover Mary, The Liberty Times reported. The couple gave birth to two daughters, now aged 13 and 10, and a son aged 11, and lived a happy life.

In 2014, learning that his elderly mother was terminally ill, Chung returned to Taiwan, and then arranged to bring Mary and their children to join him six months later.

Last April, Chung’s mother passed away, which led to the reappearance of his estranged wife, and finally he was able to divorce her. However, as the three children were born in the Philippines out of wedlock, DNA paternity tests were required to confirm their Taiwanese national status.

As a construction worker in Kaohsiung, Chung earned only NT$1,700 (US$55) per working day, and the family did not have extra savings, so could not meet the cost of the DNA tests, which would be between NT$8,000 and NT$10,000 each.

The eldest daughter reportedly exhibits mild developmental delay, while her brother and sister are very active.

The Department of Education of the Miaoli County Government learned of the family’s situation and encouraged schools in the neighborhood to offer assistance so that the children can get some education pending their full admission to school. Meanwhile the family is soliciting donations to cover the cost of the DNA tests.

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