Taiwan extends visa-free privileges for Filipinos to July 2020
Marje Pelayo • July 3, 2019 • 1681
TAIPEI, Taiwan – Filipinos who wish to travel to Taiwan may still enjoy its visa-free program until next year.
On Tuesday (July 2), Taiwan announced its extension of visa-free privileges for citizens of four countries – the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei and Russia.
In a press release, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said the visa-free trial which started in July 2018 showed significant growth in the number of tourist arrivals from the said countries.
Thus, the decision was reached during a cross-ministerial meeting of concerned government units who unanimously agreed to extend the program to another year or to July 31, 2020.
According to the Tourism Bureau, the visa-free program yielded a total of 2.6 million visits to the country in 2018 from nationals of 18 New Southbound Policy partner nations, most of which are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) including Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines.
Under the program, foreign nationals from the said countries need not secure a visa prior to their entry to Taiwan and may enjoy their visit for stays of up to 14 days.
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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