Taiwan may cancel visa-free entry for Filipinos over travel ban issue – Banayo
MANILA, Philippines— Taipei may take back the visa-free entry of Filipinos in their country after the Philippines included Taiwan in its travel restrictions due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
In an interview over radio station dzMM on Wednesday, Angelito Banayo, chair of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taipei, said canceling the visa-free entry of Filipinos could be among the “reactive measures” the Taiwanese government may impose in retaliation of the travel ban.
“Posible rin ‘yun ang unang hakbang (It could be the first step). Anything is possible,” he said.
On Monday, the Department of Health (DOH) announced that Taiwan, which is considered by the World Health Organization as part of China, is included in the temporary travel ban imposed by the Philippines due to COVID-19.
Banayo warned that the Taiwan government thinks that the Philippines’ reason for imposing the ban is “political” rather than being health-related.
The MECO chair added that Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has already ordered her Cabinet to come up for a list of possible retaliatory measures against the Philippines due to the travel ban.
Taiwan gave Filipinos a 14-day visa-free privilege in 2017 and has been extended until July 2020 “a display of Taiwan’s amity with the Philippines.”
The Philippines observes a “One-China policy” under the 1975 Joint Communique between the Chinese and Philippine governments.
According to the 45-year-old communique, the Philippines “respects the position of the Chinese government that there is but one China and that Taiwan is an integral part of Chinese territory.”
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