Extension of visa-free privilege for Filipinos in Taiwan still under study
Marje Pelayo • June 12, 2019 • 1157
TAIWAN – Extension of visa-free treatment to Philippine passport holders is still under study by Taiwan’s Executive Yuan.
On Monday (June 10), Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said the island state is expected to extend visa-privileges to citizens of four countries — the Philippines, Brunei, Thailand and Russia — originally set to expire on July 31, 2019.
According to MOFA, the decision will depend on the result of the assessment on the program’s effectiveness throughout the trial year.
“The final decision will be announced by the Executive Yuan in due time,” it said.
Under the visa-free program, foreign nationals from the said four countries are allowed to enter Taiwan without visa and stay in the island for up to 14 days.
The relaxed visa system was launched by the Taiwan government in an effort to boost the number of tourist arrivals after a decline in tourists from mainland China.
According to the latest figure from Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau, tourist arrivals from the Philippines increased by 12.46 percent in the first four months of 2019 from a year earlier.
Taiwan braced for Typhoon Bailu on Friday (August 23), prompting cancellations of domestic flights amid warnings of floods and high seas on the island.
Typhoon Bailu, categorised at the weakest typhoon level by Taiwan’s weather bureau, was expected to approach the island’s southeastern coast early on Saturday (August 24), weather officials said.
Bailu was carrying maximum winds of 126 km per hour (78 mph) as it approached Taiwan, the weather bureau said, adding that the storm could gain in strength and become the first typhoon to make landfall on the island in more than two years.
Thousands of people were moved to safety, most of them tourists on islands off the east coast, while dozens of domestic flights and ferry services were cancelled.
After passing over Taiwan, the typhoon is expected to cross the Taiwan Strait and hit the Chinese province of Fujian, forecasters said. (Reuters)
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Consulate General’s office in Hong Kong on Wednesday (August 14) advised Filipinos working and living there to avoid protest areas amid the escalating public unrest in the country.
According to its social media post, the Consulate General informed the Filipino community in Hong Kong of the following schedule of protests in the coming days:
August 14 (Wednesday) – Sham Shui Po area
August 15 (Thursday) – Wan Chai Taxation Office
August 17 (Saturday) – Chater Garden, Central to Central Government Offices, Admiralty; Hung Hom Pier to Sung Wong Toi Garden, Kowloon
August 18 (Sunday) – Victoria Park, Causeway Bay to Chater Road, Central
August 19 (Monday) – “Clean up MTR carriages”
August 25 (Sunday) – Kwan Tiang Theatre, Kwai Chung to Tsuen Wan Park
In line with this, the Consulate office also reminds Filipinos to refrain from wearing black and white as these are colors associated with the parties involved in the demonstrations.
Consulate officials also encourage Filipinos to immediately contact the Consulate’s hotline numbers in case of emergency related to the protest actions.
Hong Kong International Airport on Wednesday resumed operations after flight disruptions over the past two days amid protest actions in the Chinese-controlled city.
Check-in counters reopened to queues of hundreds of stranded passengers who waited overnight for their flights.
About 200 flights in and out of Hong Kong were cancelled since demonstrators stormed the airport on Sunday as part of the months-long demonstrations by pro-democracy activists in an attempt to topple the China-leaning government of Chief Executive Carrie Lam. – MNP
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has advised Filipinos to refrain from travelling to Hong Kong for now as the ongoing demonstrations have crippled operations in the international airport there.
“Ang travel ban siguro with respect kung gusto mo pumunta sa (The travel ban perhaps is with respect to your choice to travel to Hong Kong.) This is not the right time to go there kasi ang flight mo biglang naka-cancel, (as your flight might suddenly get cancelled,)” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said during a press briefing Tuesday (August 13).
Thousands of protesters swarmed Hong Kong International Airport’s main terminal on Monday (August 12) which led to cancellations of hundreds of outbound and inbound flights to and from the autonomous territory.
“Avoid muna going there, that’s the advice (because) you’re not sure you’re going to reach Hong Kong in the first place,” Panelo added.
When asked about a proposed ban on deployment of workers to Hong Kong, the Palace spokesperson said there is no need to declare such prohibition citing Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III since the protest movements as limited only to specific areas in Hong Kong.
“Nagkakagulo sa airport. Limited naman ang gulo sa airport, (The chaos is in the airport and it’s limited only within the airport,)” he said.
On Tuesday, Hong Kong’s Airport Authority said in a statement that terminal operations at the airport “have been seriously disrupted, and all check-in processes have now been suspended.”
“Members of the public are advised not to come to the airport. All passengers are advised to leave the terminal buildings as soon as possible,” the statement said.
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