Taiwan feels for HK, stands against China’s ‘one country, two systems’ policy

Marje Pelayo   •   November 26, 2019   •   401

Taiwan Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu during a briefing with members of international media in Taipei, Taiwan (November 22, 2019) Photo: Chris Narag / UNTV Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan – The months-long protest in Hong Kong may have ended with a victory for pro-democracy group but still, an influx of Hong Kong nationals seeking residency in Taiwan caught the attention of Mainland Affairs Council (MAC).

MAC Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng in an interview on Thursday (November 22) said most Hong Kong nationals moved to Taiwan to invest, to get married to Taiwan citizens or mostly to study based on statistics from the National Immigration Agency (NIA).

The minister did not give a direct answer when asked if the recent influx of Hong Kong nationals to Taiwan was caused by the anti-government protests that lasted nearly six months.

Similar to Hong Kong, Taiwan also experiences diplomatic pressure from China and what happened to Hong Kong is a matter of concern not just to Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Joseph Wu.

“The situation is very sad for us to see and if you look at the current situation it doesn’t seem to [have] an immediate solution to it,” he said in a meeting with reporters in Taipei.

“On the other hand, the demand of people of Hong Kong for more freedom or more democracy is not being met. And on the other hand, the Chinese seems to be ready to apply more control over Hong Kong,” he added.

Since the election of President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016, Taiwan has been vocal in its opposition against China’s call for unification under “one country, two systems” policy similar to Hong Kong.  

Since then, several countries switched their allegiance from Taiwan to China as the latter announced it would refuse any diplomatic ties with any country that would recognize the former’s self-rule.

Just recently, two of Taiwan’s former allies, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands shifted recognition to China.

Wu accused China of making “false” aid promises such as billions-dollar worth of infrastructure projects to some of Taiwan’s former allies.

“To lure Taiwan’s allies to build ties with them, China often makes promises with huge amounts of money,” Wu said

“But we realize those promises were not fulfilled,” he added.

At present, only 15 countries recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty, most of them are less developed ones.

They are:

  1. Belize (1989)
  2. Guatemala (1960)
  3. Eswatini1 (1968)
  4. Haiti (1956)
  5. Honduras (1965)
  6. Marshall Islands (1998)
  7. Nauru (1980–2002, 2005)
  8. Nicaragua (1990)
  9. Palau (1999)
  10. Paraguay (1957)
  11. Saint Kitts and Nevis (1983)
  12. Saint Lucia (1984–1997, 2007)
  13. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (1981)
  14. Tuvalu (1979)
  15. Vatican City (1942)

Recently, Tuvalu expressed their support for Taiwan despite offers from China.

President Tsai is seeking reelection in January 2020. If she wins, she vows to continuously defend Taiwan’s democracy. MNP (with inputs from Amiel Pascual)

Filipino maid tested positive for COVID-19 in Hong Kong “in good condition”

Marje Pelayo   •   February 20, 2020

HONG KONG – The Philippine Consulate General’s office confirmed on Thursday (February 20) that the Filipino maid who contracted the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is now in stable condition.

Maganda ang kaniyang disposisyon at hindi siya kinakikitaan ng sintomas ng sakit gaya ng sipon, ubo, at lagnat (Her disposition is good and she is not showing signs of illness like cold, cough or fever),” the Consulate General’s office said in a statement.

Siya ay nasa mabuting kalagayan (She is in good condition),” the office confirmed.

The Pinay worker, however, is still not allowed to accept visitors as the results of the series of tests on her samples are still pending.

The Consulate preferred not to disclose the identity of the Filipino helper as requested by the patient herself but the office assured to provide her the necessary assistance on the course of her recovery.

Meanwhile, the Consulate General’s Office reiterates its appeal to the public not to spread fake news on social media so as not to cause panic.

Muli rin pong nanawagan ang Konsulado na iwasan ang pagpapakalat ng mga ‘fake news’ o anumang impormasyon na hindi beripikado (The Consulate Office reiterates our call (on Filipinos) to avoid spreading fake news or any unverified information),” the Consulate General’s office stressed.

Ito po ay upang maiwasan ang alarma at pagaalala lalo na ng ating mga mahal sa buhay (So as not to cause alarm and panic among our relatives),” it added.

Official information and updates regarding the situation of Filipinos in Hong Kong in relation to COVID-19 outbreak may be accessed on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PHLinHK/.  

Health waivers mandatory for Filipinos leaving for Hong Kong, Macau

Marje Pelayo   •   February 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino household helpers may now return to their employers in Hong Kong after the Philippine government ordered a partial lifting of the travel ban amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay confirmed the order on Tuesday (February 18) as Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo noted that the partial lifting was in response to the mounting requests from returning workers to Hong Kong.

“There had been persistent requests from the OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) themselves,” he said.

“In fact, I received one call that he was fired from that position because he has not gone back, maybe that’s the reason why,” he added.

However, confusions emerged over the terms and conditions for their return, specifically the government’s requirement that they sign a written declaration acknowledging the risk of coronavirus infection if they head to the administrative territory.

But the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) stressed that such declaration is mandatory.

“With the exemption, OFWs returning to Hong Kong and Macau shall be required to execute a declaration which states that they are aware of the risks involved,” the DFA said in an advisory.

“Newly-hired Filipino employees are likewise exempted from the ban as long as they also sign the form that can be obtained from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA),” it added.

Nonetheless, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin assured that despite the risk, the government will always be ready to provide them assistance even as one Filipino maid has been confirmed positive for the virus.

“Don’t worry, they’ll sign health waivers but we won’t waive our obligation to take care of them wherever they are,” Locsin said.

Aside from the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Filipinos with permanent residency status in Macau and China are also allowed to depart as well as Filipino students enrolled there.

Meanwhile, Filipino travelers from China with foreign spouses and their children will also be allowed entry to the Philippines as well as all holders of diplomatic visas subject to a 14-day quarantine period upon arrival.

Filipino maid in HK tests positive for coronavirus, contact tracing launched

Marje Pelayo   •   February 19, 2020

HONG KONG – The Philippine Consulate General confirmed on Tuesday (February 18) that a Filipino household helper tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Currently isolated at Pamela Youde Nethersole Estern Hospital in Chai Wan, the 32-year-old Filipina maid initially tested negative of COVID-19 after she consulted for cough and slight fever.

Three days later, she returned with a positive result.

She is believed to have contracted the virus from her 67-year-old employer who tested positive for the virus on February 13.

Philippine Consul General Raly Tejada said they have launched contact tracing of the people who were in close contact with the Filipina maid in the past weeks.

He assured that all necessary assistance will be provided to the Filipino national.

“The Consulate General sent a team to the hospital to check on her condition,” the Consul General said in a statement.

“Rest assured that the government will render all necessary assistance to the Filipino national,” he added.

The Filipino domestic worker is the 61st positive case of COVID-19 in the administrative territory.

The report came on the day the Philippine government allowed Filipino domestic workers to return to their employers in Hong Kong amid the coronavirus crisis.

In an advisory, the Consulate General advised all Filipinos in Hong Kong to always monitor their health conditions and avoid crowded places to prevent contagion. MNP (with inputs from Ferdie Petalio)

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