Taiwan lauds PH move to lift temporary travel ban

Neil Arwin Mercado

February 14, 2020 07:42pm

MANILA, Philippines --- The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines (TECO) on Friday hailed the move of the Philippine government to lift the temporary travel ban imposed on Taiwan amid the COVID-19 scare.

TECO said Taiwan has taken measures needed to contain the spread of the disease, saying it will continue working with the international community to fight COVID-19 or the novel coronavirus that originated in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province in China.

"The Republic of China (Taiwan) attaches great importance to its long-standing relationship with the Republic of the Philippines. We are determined to strengthen our bilateral ties and promote our people-to-people connectivity," TECO said in a statement.

TECO also expressed its appreciation towards Manila Economic and Cultural Office for its "tireless efforts" to have Taiwan removed from the ban.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo confirmed the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) to lift the travel ban imposed on Taiwan, effective immediately.

Panelo said the decision to lift the travel ban for Taiwan has been "agreed by the members of the IATF by reason of the strict measures they are undertaking, as well as the protocols they are implementing to address the COVID-19."

On February 2, the Philippine government implemented a temporary travel ban on visitors from mainland China, and China's special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau. Eight days later, it clarified that Taiwan is included in the travel restriction, citing the World Health Organization's (WHO) recognition of the One China policy.

But Taiwan complained, asserting that they were "wrongly included" in the ban. It also said that the Philippines "should not be misled" by WHO's "wrong information" to deem Taiwan as part of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Taipei then said it may withdraw the visa-free entry for Filipinos as among its "reactive measures" over Taiwan's inclusion in the travel ban.

Edited by KGA