Philippines lifts travel ban on Taiwan travelers

Passengers wearing protective masks arrive at Manila's international airport in the Philippines on Monday Feb. 3, 2020.(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) — Following days of confusion and inconsistencies, the Philippines has officially lifted travel restrictions imposed upon Taiwan travelers, effective immediately.

The members of the Filipino Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) made the decision because of “the strict measures they are undertaking, as well as the protocols they are implementing to address the COVID-19,” Salvador Panelo, spokesperson for President Rodrigo Duterte, said in a statement on Friday.

“Travel may now be made by any national to Taiwan from the Philippines and vice versa,” Panelo added.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA, 外交部) expressed affirmation toward the move and thanked those who assisted in pushing this toward a positive direction.

It seized the opportunity to call on WHO to be professional and neutral and to correct the way it addresses Taiwan.

The reversal came a day after President Duterte was quoted by Panelo as saying that the Philippines’ decision to include Taiwan for a ban on China had “nothing to do with” the One China policy.