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Taiwan’s visa-free entry for Filipinos extended until July 2021

By: Gabriel Pabico Lalu - INQUIRER.net July 23,2020 - 09:07 PM

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos can continue to enjoy traveling to Taiwan without a visa—at least after the pandemic subsides—as its Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) extended the visa-free entry for selected nations until July 2021.

According to an announcement from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines (TECO), the extension is aimed at strengthening its New Southbound Policy, which is an initiative of the Taiwanese government to enhance ties and exchanges with countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Australasia.

“The agencies participating in the meeting, having evaluated the status and outcomes of the measures so far, jointly made the following decisions: From August 1, 2020, trial visa-free entry for nationals from Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, and Russia will be extended for one year until July 31, 2021,” TECO said.

However, TECO clarified that MOFA has announced entry regulations amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which means that such extensions do not take precedence over current border control rules geared at avoiding local coronavirus transmissions in Taiwan.

TECO said that the relaxation of the rules may depend on the assessment of Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), based on the development of the pandemic worldwide.

“In line with epidemic prevention measures taken by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), MOFA has announced entry regulations for foreign nationals during the epidemic,” TECO explained.

“The aforementioned adjustments to visa measures for nationals from New Southbound Policy partner countries and Russia are based on previously existing policies and do not take precedence over temporary border control measures put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” it added.

Last February, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) warned that Taipei may issue sanctions on Manila — including the removal of the visa-free entry privilege — after Taiwan was wrongly included in the country’s ban of inbound flights from China.

Tensions flared sometime in April after Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque remarked that the issue of deporting a Filipina worker in Taiwan is up to Taiwan and China — despite the Taipei insisting independence from Beijing.

Recently, Taiwan has been hailed for helping other countries fight the pandemic, while setting one of the standards in battling the health crisis.

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