Last February 10, the Department of Health (DOH) announced that Taiwan would be included in the temporary travel ban imposed by the Philippines against non-Filipino travelers coming from China, Hong Kong, and Macau. In response, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines (TECO) denounced this decision on the basis of it being a “factual error” to be regarded as part of China.
In a statement released on February 11, TECO expressed: “The Republic of China (Taiwan) is a sovereign and independent state. Taiwan issues its own passport and visas and has exclusive jurisdiction over its people and territory. In fact, Taiwan is not, nor has it ever been, part of the PRC (People’s Republic of China).”
Angelito Banayo, chair of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taipei, shared in an interview with radio station dzMM that the Taiwan government sees their inclusion in the ban as “political” rather than practical. As such, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has instructed her cabinet members to consider possible retaliatory measures against the Philippines. One of those could be the revocation of Filipinos’ visa-free privilege.
“Posible rin ‘yun ang unang hakbang (It could be the first step). Anything is possible,” Banayo said.
The Philippines has maintained a one-China policy since the 1975 Joint Communique was agreed upon. It “respects the position of the Chinese government that there is but one China and that Taiwan is an integral part of Chinese territory.”
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