Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that it will be lifting the visa requirement for Filipino citizens effective June 1, 2017.
In a news release dated April 12, the department said that this is part of the Taiwanese government’s “New Southbound Policy.” It explained that the policy aims to “attract nationals from Southeast and South Asian countries to Taiwan for tourism or business purposes, as well as to broaden and deepen Taiwan’s interactions, exchanges, and cooperation with these nations at all levels.”
Taiwan likewise lifted the visa requirement for citizens of Thailand and Brunei while easing the travel restrictions for nationals of many other countries including Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that since it began taking steps to ease its immigration rules last year, foreign tourist arrivals have soared. It also noted that instances of visa overstay, illegal employment, and criminal offenses had been limited.
“In January, the number of South and Southeast Asian tourists visiting Taiwan reached 68,000, marking a year-on-year increase of 42.8 percent and the biggest growth in four years,” Taipei News reported.
It must be noted that Taiwan and the Philippines both elected new presidents last year – Tsai Ing-wen and Rodrigo Duterte, respectively. Although the two countries technically do not have diplomatic relations (the Philippines observes the so-called “One China Policy”), they maintain strong economic and cultural relations as shown in the presence of about 100,000 overseas Filipino workers in Taiwan (it remains in the top ten of common OFW destinations).
Taiwan is represented in the Philippines by its de facto embassy, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office. Its counterpart is the Manila Economic and Cultural Office.