Malacanang announced that the government has decided to lift the travel ban covering travels to and from Taiwan after a determination made by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) that Taipei has put in place strict measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus diseases (COVID-19).
The decision immediately drew a positive reaction from the Taiwanese government, which earlier threatened to retaliate if Manila would continue to impose the travel ban.
Salvador Panelo, the President’s spokesman and chief legal counsel, said: “Accordingly, travel may now be made by any national to Taiwan from the Philippines and vice versa. The lifting of travel restrictions for Taiwan has been agreed by the members of the IATF by reason of the strict measures they are undertaking, as well as the protocols they are implementing to address the COVID-19.”
The lifting of the ban on travels to and from was “effective immediately”.
In a statement, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines (TECO) said it welcomes the announcement. “Taiwan has taken all measures needed to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Taiwan will continue to work closely with the international community, including the Philippines, to fight against the COVID-19 to safeguard the health and welfare of humanity.”
Aside from the Taiwan, the government is also likely to lift the travel ban covering Macau.
Panelo said Macau has submitted the protocols it has been observing to contain COVID-19.
These measures, Panelo added, prevents potential carriers of the virus from entering and departing their territory and enable others to determine the recent travel history of any traveler exiting their borders.”
Manila previously banned the entry of any foreigner coming from China, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Filipinos or holders of Philippine permanent visa are allowed to enter the Philippines, on the condition they will be on a 14-day quarantine.
Taiwan was included in the ban based on the advice from the World Health Organization.
The IATF met again on Friday (February 14) to firm up plans to address the threats posed by COVID-19.
TECO added in its statement: “The Republic of China (Taiwan) attaches great importance to its long-standing relationship with the Republic of the Philippines. We are determined to strengthen our bilateral ties and promote our people-to-people connectivity. TECO would like to express deep appreciation to all Filipino friends who have voiced their sincere support for removing Taiwan from the temporary travel ban. We especially commend the Manila Economic and Cultural Office for its tireless efforts to help remove Taiwan from the travel ban.”