Taiwan holds visa-free entry for Philippine citizens

There's a holdup on visa-free entry to Taiwan for Filipinos

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan is eager to offer visa-free entry for Philippine citizens but is unable to do so due to the Marawi crisis.

According to Taipei’s representative office in Manila, the government of Taiwan will not provide visa-free entry for the Philippine passport holders until the unrest in Marawi is settled.

The city of Marawi has been under siege since May, with intense clashes between the government forces and the Islamic State affiliated militants.

On Monday, Gary Song-Huann Lin from Taiwan Economic Cooperation Office in Manila said the situation in Marawi is identified as one of the considerations for holding up the implementation of the visa-free entry.

"We are reviewing the administrative and security procedures to ensure that people like Hapilon don't enter Taiwan," the Philippine-based Business World online quoted Lin as saying.

"I'm sure the Marawi situation will not last long," he added.

Although Philippine passport holders have been allowed e-visa facility since October last year, the Taiwanese government is eager to ease the entry requirements further.

This effort is part of the government's measures aimed at bolstering ties with South and Southeast Asian countries.

Taiwan citizens are the sixth largest visitors to the Philippines and about 170,000 Filipinos visited Taiwan in 2016 compared to 130,000 in 2015 , according to Taiwan's Central News Agency