Taiwanese businesspeople in the Philippines fear impact of travel ban

Manila Business associations representing Taiwanese nationals in the Philippines warned Tuesday that the government's decision the day before to include Taiwan in a travel ban could have a widespread impact on the Taiwanese community in that country.

On Monday night, the Philippines' Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) issued a clarification on a Feb. 2 directive banning travel from China, Hong Kong and Macau, announcing that under the country's One China policy, the restrictions would also apply to Taiwan.

The policy temporarily bans the entry of travelers from China, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as travelers who have been to those places in the 14 days preceding arrival, with the exception of Filipino citizens and holders of permanent resident visas. It also bans Filipinos from traveling to any of those four destinations.

In response to the measures, Huang Ya hui (???), the chairwoman of the Taiwanese Association Philippines, said that as many Taiwanese in the country hold retiree's visas or special investor visas, rather than permanent resident visas, the impact of the ban could be quite broad.

While the CAB statement only refers to travelers "directly coming from" the banned locations, and does not state whether Taiwanese passport holders arriving from a third country will be allowed entry. Huang said many Taiwanese are not willing to take any chances until they receive further guidance on the policy.

"The biggest worry right now is leaving the country and being unable to return," she said, citing the potentially ruinous effect this could have on people's businesses.

Another issue on many people's minds is family, according to Lin Teng feng (???), the vice president of the Taiwanese Compatriot Association in the Philippines.

Lin said his wife and daughter Philippine passport holders who are currently with him in Taiwan would be able to return, while he, as the holder of a temporary resident visa through marriage, would be prohibited entry under the policy.

In addition to separating him from his family, Lin worries that being away from his company could greatly affect his livelihood.

"If I can't go back, there will be no one to sign the checks, and if we don't pay the bills, the company can't operate," he said.

"How will I pay my employees' salaries?" he added.

Lin said the Philippine government has not yet clarified how it will handle people in his situation, but said he planned to make travel arrangements on Wednesday, and would hope for the best.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel