Taiwan approves visa-free entry for Filipinos – report

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos may soon travel to Taiwan without having to pay visa fees, after the Taiwanese government approved the visa-free privilege for Philippine nationals to be implemented in October or November.

The start date for the trial period of the visa-free program is expected to be announced in a month, according to a report by Focus Taiwan, the English channel of the Taiwan state-run Central News Agency.

Winston Chen, director-general of the Foreign Ministry's Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said in the report that the policy covers stays of up to 14 days in the island-state.

Taiwanese Premier Lai Ching-te approved the visa-free plan for Filipinos last week.

Chen said the visa-free policy aimed to promote people-to-people, tourism and commercial exchanges between Taiwan and the Philippines.

The report added that the new policy is expected to bring in an additional NT$2 billion (US$65.9 million) in tourism revenues and a 33% increase in the number of Filipinos visiting Taiwan next year, according to the Travel Agent Association of the ROC, Taiwan.

The visa-free privilege for Filipinos has earlier been considered by the Taiwanese government. Its implementation was initially announced to begin in June this year, later rescheduled to September. – Rappler.com