Taiwan extends visa-free privileges to Filipinos

Marje Pelayo   •   June 28, 2018   •   4769

 

 

TAIPEI City, Taiwan – The government of Taiwan announced Wednesday (June 27) that it will extend its trial period of visa-free privileges to three Southeast Asian nations by another one year until July 31, 2019.

The extension, announced by Taiwan’s Minister without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen, was decided over an inter-ministerial meeting earlier this month.

Currently, Filipinos are given up to 14 days on visa-free entry while citizens of Thailand and Brunei are allowed to stay in Taiwan for a maximum of 30 days. Chang, however, clarified that the extension will now be granting visa-free privileges of no more than 14 days to citizens of all three countries in order to better facilitate the visa-waiver program.

He added that due to border security and immigration concerns, they will not add any other countries to its visa-free program at this time. However, he assured that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Immigration Agency are finding ways of making visitor entry to Taiwan more convenient.

Visa-free entry was introduced for Thai and Brunei citizens in August 2016 on a trial basis. It was extended last year to July 31, 2018. Meanwhile, the same privilege was opened to Filipinos in November last year which also runs through July 31.

Filipinos in Taiwan appreciates the gesture of the Taiwanese government for opening its doors to Filipinos.

“Magandang balita iyan dahil pabor sa marami na gusting makabisita ditto at pabor din sa mga mahala natin sa buhay na makabisita ditto,” said Filipina worker Norie Rosales.

“Mas marami ang maeengganyo na pumasyal dito sa Taiwan…Mas madali sa aming mga mahal sa buhay na makapamasyal dito…at makasama naming dito at maipakita ang ganda ng Taiwan,” exclaimed Mario Subeldia, a Filipino Sand Artist in Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Bureau of Tourism reported that the number of Filipino tourist arrivals to Taiwan increased from almost 180,000 in 2016 to over 290,000 last year, mainly because of the visa-free program. – Amiel Pascual / Marje Pelayo

PAL, Cebu Pacific resume PH-Taiwan flights

Marje Pelayo   •   February 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific announced the resumption of their respective flights to Taiwan.

The decision came after the Philippine government lifted its travel ban imposed on the island nation due to the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Flag carrier PAL said they will operate the following flight schedule going to and from Taipei Taoyuan International Airport:

February 21 to February 29 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)

  • PR 890 Manila-Taipei
  • PR 891 Taipei-Manila

March 1 (onwards)

  • PR890 – Manila (6:05 AM) to Taipei (8:30 AM)
  • PR891 – Taipei (9:30 AM) to Manila (11:40 AM)

March 29 (onwards)

  • Standard regular schedule of twice-daily flights
    • (PR890/PR891 and PR894/PR 895)

Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific also announced resumption of the following flights:

February 17 (until further notice)

  • 5J310 Manila-Taipei  (Departs 10:40 pm)

February 18 (until further notice)

  • 5J311 Taipei-Manila  (Departs 1:45am Mon/Wed/Sat; 2:15am Tue/Thu/Fri/Sun)

February 21 (until further notice)

Manila-Taipei

  • 5J 312 (Departs 7:05 am)
  • 5J 310 (Departs 10:40 pm)

Taipei-Manila

  • 5J311 (Departs 1:45 am)
  • 5J313 (Departs 10:45 am)

For passengers who booked the said flights but have not availed for refund will depart as scheduled.

Passengers may also check the status of their flights through Cebu Pacific’s website on the Manage Booking menu.

Taiwan reports first death due to coronavirus disease

Marje Pelayo   •   February 17, 2020

TAIPEI, Taiwan – The country’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) reported on Sunday (February 16) the nation’s first death of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

According to Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chun, the patient was a 61-year-old male living in central Taiwan.

He had Hepatitis B and diabetes prior to contracting the virus.

He, however, had no record of overseas travel, according to Minister Chen.

“This could be Taiwan’s first community transmitted case,” Chen noted in a press briefing.

The man is the country’s 19th confirmed case of COVID-19.

Health officials are still working to determine how he contracted the disease as he worked as a taxi driver who had customers who regularly travels from China, Macau and Hong Kong.

Investigations are being worked out on the man’s medical records, phone records and history of his travel within the country.

Chen said the patient first developed cough on January 27 and he was admitted to the hospital of February 3 due to shortness of breath.

He passed away on February 15 due to pneumonia and sepsis after being confirmed to have COVID-19, according to the Health Minister.

Meanwhile, Minister Chen announced the country’s 20th confirmed case, a 51-year-old male, identified as the younger brother of the 19th patient.

Despite these, Chen reiterated that healthy individuals need not to wear mask but advised the public to constantly wash hands for prevention.

PH lifts COVID-19-related travel ban on Taiwan

Robie de Guzman   •   February 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has lifted the travel restrictions it imposed on Taiwan due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Malacañang announced Friday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has resolved to lift the travel restrictions imposed upon Taiwan because of strict measures being undertaken by the Taiwanese government to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Panelo said the lifting of the ban is effective immediately.

“Accordingly, travel may now be made by any national to Taiwan from the Philippines and vice versa,” he said.

The Philippines this week included Taiwan in its travel restrictions initially imposed on China and its special administrative regions affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

A Philippine health official explained that Taiwan was included in the ban as the World Health Organization recognizes it as a part of China.

Malacañang later on said the temporary ban was imposed for the safety of the Filipino people and not due to politics.

The travel restriction was criticized by Taiwan, stressing that it had only 18 cases of the virus compared to some 60,000 in China.

Taiwan threatened to implement countermeasures against the Philippines, including scrapping visa-free privileges for Filipinos if it keeps the entry ban.

Several Filipinos currently working and those en route to Taiwan also appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to lift the ban, expressing fears of losing their jobs.

Panelo also said the task force would also evaluate on whether to lift the ban on other Chinese jurisdictions given preventive protocols implemented against the deadly virus.

“The Office of the President likewise stresses that any resolution relative to travel restrictions in connection with the COVID-19 shall be subjected to regular review by the IATF,” he said.

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