OFW organization hails lifting of Taiwan travel ban

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The ACTS-OFW Coalition of Organizations on Sunday hailed the Philippine government’s lifting of its coronavirus-related travel ban on Taipei, as they said  the move demonstrated President Rodrigo Duterte’s “sensitivity to the plight of Filipino workers in Taiwan.”

“The removal of the two-way travel restriction is a big relief to thousands of Filipinos workers in Taiwan who just want to earn a decent living despite the coronavirus scare,” said ACTS-OFW chairperson Aniceto Bertiz III.

Had the ban not been taken back, it would have displaced Filipino workers who were due to return to work in Taiwan after a vacationing here at home, as well as rehired or newly hired workers bound for the self-administered state, said Bertiz, also a  former member of Congress.

“We were also worried that had the ban been kept, the Taiwanese government might retaliate in a manner that would threaten the jobs of Filipino workers there, including future employment opportunities,” Bertiz also said.

“Reversal shows Duterte administration’s sensitivity to plight of OFWs who just want to earn a living despite coronavirus scare,” said the group.

The Philippines’ Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases announced Friday the scrapping of the two-way travel prohibition between Manila and Taipei.

Without counting money coursed through non-bank and informal channels, Bertiz said Filipino workers in Taiwan sent home via the banking system a total of $538.5 million from January to November 2019, up 2.9 percent from $523.3 million in the same 11-month period in 2018.

A total of 305,570 vacationers from Taiwan also visited the Philippines from January to November 2019, up 37.07 percent from 222,934 in the same nine-month period in 2018, according to the Department of Tourism./Stacy Ang

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