Taiwan extends visa-free privileges to Filipinos

Marje Pelayo   •   June 28, 2018   •   4859

 

 

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

Taiwan reports 4 of 5 new COVID-19 cases came from the Philippines

Marje Pelayo   •   July 29, 2020

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) reported on Tuesday (July 28) that it has recorded five new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among travelers who arrived in the country on Sunday (July 26).

This brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan to 467 since the start of the pandemic early this year. 

Out of 467 positive cases, 21 are imported so far.

Of the five new cases, all took the same flight on July 26, four were from the Philippines and one returned from Hong Kong, according to CECC.

The CECC identified the patients as follows:

  • Male (over 50y/o)
    • He visited the Philippines for work in March. He returned to Taiwan on July 26 with a slightly elevated temperature at the airport. After the test, he was confirmed positive on July 28.
  • Male (over 30y/o)
    • He visited the Philippines for work in January. He noticed abnormality in his sense of smell and taste and sought medical attention in the Philippines on June 16. He took a COVID-19 test the same day, but he tested negative.  He returned to Taiwan on July 26 where he voluntarily reported his previous symptoms to airport quarantine officers who then arranged his COVID-19 testing. His test yielded positive results and was confirmed on July 28.
  • Male/Female (both over 70y/o)
    • A couple in their 70s who traveled to the Philippines to visit their relatives in January. The two cases returned to Taiwan on July 26. The male patient was asymptomatic while the female patient reported her symptoms to airport quarantine officers before boarding and upon entry to Taiwan. After COVID-19 testing was undertaken, they were taken to a quarantine facility. They were confirmed positive on July 28.
  • Male (over 30y/o) 
    • He traveled to Hong Kong for work in January and returned to Taiwan on July 26. He voluntarily reported his symptoms to airport quarantine officers who then arranged his COVID-19 testing and he was confirmed positive on July 28. 

All five cases are currently in isolation in a hospital for medical treatment.

Taiwan extends trial visa-free entry for Filipinos

Marje Pelayo   •   July 24, 2020

FILE PHOTO: Taiwan’s national flags in Taipei, REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

MANILA, Philippines — The government of Taiwan has extended its trial visa-free entry for nationals of Brunei, the Philippines, Russia and Thailand to further promote its New Southbound Policy.

In a meeting with other related agencies, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) decided to extend the visa-free entry for one year starting August 1 until July 31, 2021.

Likewise, the Project for Simplifying Visa Regulations for High-end Group Tourists from Southeast Asian Countries will continue for another year, lasting until December 31, 2021. 

The said adjustments to visa measures are based on previously existing policies, the MOFA stressed and “do not take precedence” over temporary border control measures put in place in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Check in but go nowhere: Taiwan offers fake flights for travel-starved tourists

UNTV News   •   July 3, 2020

Starved of the travel experience during the coronavirus lockdown? One airport in Taiwan has the solution – a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security and even board the aircraft. You just never leave.

Taipei’s downtown Songshan airport on Thursday (July 2) began offering travellers the chance to do just that, with some 60 people hungry to get going, albeit to nowhere.

Around 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen at random. More fake flight experiences will take place in coming weeks.

The passengers got boarding passes, and proceeded through security and immigration before boarding an Airbus A330 of Taiwan’s largest carrier, China Airlines, where flight attendants chatted to them and explained coronavirus prevention methods.

The airport is using the event as a publicity opportunity to show off renovations it has completed while passengers have stayed away.

Songshan usually has flights to Tokyo, Seoul and several Chinese cities, and is also an important domestic hub.

Taiwan has emerged relatively unscathed from the pandemic thanks to early and effective prevention steps, but has largely closed its borders since mid-March and advised its citizens against all overseas travel unless absolutely necessary.

While a handful of international flights have continued, passenger numbers plummeted almost 64 percent in the first five months of 2020 compared with the same period last year, according to the government.

Still, in one bright spot, internal travel is booming.

Taiwan’s two main domestic carriers – China Airlines unit Mandarin Airlines and Eva Air’s Uni Air – have added extra capacity over the summer to Taiwan’s sun-soaked offshore islands and rugged east coast. (Reuters)

(Production: Ann Wang, Martin Pollard, Ben Blanchard)

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