Philippine nationals could become eligible for visa-free entry for stays in Taiwan of up to 14 days by next month or November, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Director-General Winston Chen (陳文儀) said yesterday.
The details of the new policy were hammered out at an interministerial meeting of national security, police, immigration and other officials, Chen said at a news conference, adding that Premier William Lai (賴清德) approved the program on Wednesday.
The government has decided to implement the visa-free program on a trial basis to promote people-to-people, tourist and commercial exchanges between Taiwan and the Philippines, Chen said, adding that the start date for the trial is expected to be announced in a month.
The government encourages Manila to follow the principle of reciprocity and grant Taiwanese nationals visa-free privileges as soon as possible, Chen said.
The government has since Aug. 1 relaxed visa rules for nationals of the 10 ASEAN member states, which include the Philippines, as well as for Indian nationals.
Taiwan included the Philippines in its electronic visa program on Oct. 7 last year.
The Travel Agent Association of the Republic of China, Taiwan said it expected the visa-waiver program to attract 33 percent more Philippine visitors to Taiwan next year and boost tourism revenue by NT$2 billion (US$65.8 million).
Tourism revenue from Philippine tourists has been forecast to reach NT$7 billion this year, it said.
The Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei (MECO) later yesterday said that it welcomes the ministry’s plan for the visa waiver program, adding that it would respond to the friendly gesture by relaxing visa requirements for Taiwanese travelers in the Philippines.
In a separate statement, it called for Taipei and Manila to work more closely together, especially on fighting cross-border crime.
That statement came a day after the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Manila rejected a claim by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte that drugs in the Philippines originated in Taiwan.
MECO Chairman Angelito Banayo called for closer cooperation in the areas of law enforcement and combating organized crime.
“We all know that organized crime, specifically drug trafficking, knows no borders, which calls for closer coordination between the Philippine and Taiwan authorities,” Banayo said.
MECO and TECO have been working together “closely in forging agreements on law enforcement cooperation aimed at addressing borderless crimes such as drug smuggling and human trafficking,” the statement said.
Such law enforcement agreements are in the pipeline and are expected to be signed by the end of this year or early next year, the statement added.
One of the key components of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) New Southbound Policy is to strengthen collaboration with other nations to fight international crime, which in the case of the Philippines means a concerted effort to combat narcotics, the statement said.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s