MECO: Taiwan travel ban will hurt OFWs

February 12, 2020

PUZZLED by the inclusion of Taiwan in the travel ban, Chairman Lito Banayo of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) is due to arrive today to appeal the imposition of the expanded travel ban which affects overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Banayo is the de facto official representative of the Philippines to the Republic of Taiwan. He will meet with Executive Secretary Salvador Medeldea to present a letter from the Taiwanese goverment.

The action of Banayo was based on the appeal of the licensed recruitment agencies deploying OFWs to Taiwan for the inclusion of Taiwan in the travel ban as announced by an official of the Department of Health (DOH) based on an incorrect conclusion that Taiwan is part of China.

Pilipino Manpower Agencies Accredited to Taiwan (PILMAT) president Aida Gerodias lamented the statement of DOH Undersecretary Dr. Eric Domingo that according to World Health Organization (WHO), Taiwan is part of China that is why they have included Taiwan in the travel ban enforced as part of measures to contain the novel coronavirus.

Gerodias said that Taiwan is an independent country recognized by the United Nations and the country has economic and trade relations with Taiwan with the establishment of the MECO in Taipei and Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the country.

The travel ban imposed on OFWs working in Taiwan will have an effect on the 180,000 Filipinos working in the numerous factories and electronic assembly plants in many parts of Taiwan. Included in the number of Filipinos are 30,000 caregivers who are taking care of the elderly in that country.

She added that Taiwan has the highest standard health facilities according to a survey  and Taiwan health authorities are very pro-active in preventing the nCoV Acute Respiratory Disease from spreading in the country.

Some 200 OFWs bound for Taiwan were off-loaded or not allowed to board their flights. Around 6,000 OFWs regularly take their vacation in the country every two weeks and the travel ban will affect their return to their high-paying jobs.  

Meanwhile, CNA last February 9 reported that Taiwan’s health care system has been ranked No. 1 in the world for two years in a row, according to the results of an online survey.

With a score of 86.71 out of 100, Taiwan ranked first among 93 countries around the world, according to the Health Care Index by Country released by Numbeo, an online database.