Several Taiwanese charities said their humanitarian aid to the Philippines and bilateral exchanges have been largely unaffected by the diplomatic dispute between Taipei and Manila.
Humanitarian assistance will be carried out “in accordance with established plans,” said Lisa Hsu, director of communications and development at the Red Cross Society of the Republic of China, referring to the charity’s aid to victims of Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines in December last year.
The Taiwanese charity is helping its Philippine counterpart set up water purifiers in disaster areas with funds raised by the Taiwanese public.
“Our main concern is humanitarian aid,” Hsu said, when asked if the diplomatic row with Manila would affect the charity’s aid.
“I don’t think the incident will affect our assistance because humanitarian aid is a universal value that surpasses political and ethnic considerations,” said Rebecca Wang (王金英), chief executive officer of the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation, which helps patients with cleft lip and palate.
The foundation, which sends medical mission teams to developing Asian countries, has helped to train Filipino medical workers in cleft lip and palate surgery and is sponsoring a research project on pre-surgical treatment in the Philippines.
“We won’t just cut off our cooperation and exchanges, because our Filipino partners are also doing the work of helping others,” said Wang, who said the diplomatic dispute and humanitarian work were “two separate things.”
Lien Shu-fen (連淑芬), deputy secretary-general of Taiwan’s International Action and Cooperation Team, said her group’s interactions with non-governmental organizations in the Philippines would not be affected by the dispute.
Many large international organizations have their Asian offices in Manila and they have nothing to do with the Taiwan-Philippines row, she said.
The team, consisting of doctors, nurses, lawyers, social workers and other professionals, provides health services to disadvantaged groups in places such as Taiwan, Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia.
However, Lien added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ red travel alert on the Philippines could deter her group from sending volunteers to the Philippines.