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2,400 Filipinos willing to pay pre-quarantine costs to open Taiwan's borders

Stranded Filipino workers willing to pay for pre-quarantine costs to expedite entry to Taiwan

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Residents fill out documents as they wait for their turn at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Quezon City, Philippines on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. Offic...

Residents fill out documents as they wait for their turn at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Quezon City, Philippines on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. Offic... (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Over 2,400 Filipino workers who have been stranded since May of last year have signed a petition delivered to the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) expressing their willingness to pay for the pre-quarantine costs for foreign workers entering Taiwan to break the current impasse.

Entry for all migrant workers was suspended on May 19, 2021 after a surge in local COVID-19 cases. Although Taiwan has lifted the ban for Indonesian and Thai workers, an impasse between the Taiwan government and Philippine government agencies has left over 5,000 Filipino migrant workers with jobs lined up in Taiwan in limbo.

Taiwan has set three conditions for Filipino workers to enter the country: full inoculation with a COVID vaccine, proof of a negative COVID test before arrival, and at least three days of quarantine in the Philippines before leaving for Taiwan. The main sticking point is that DOLE insists local recruitment agencies headed by Pilipino Manpower Agencies Accredited to Taiwan (PILMAT) cover the costs.

According to a press release issued by Filipino recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani on Saturday (Jan. 29), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) competitors Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam have all agreed to the Taiwan Ministry of Labor's (MOL) new entry rules, leaving only the Philippines still deadlocked in negotiations with Taiwan.

Raul de Vera, Jr of the 5K working group has submitted a petition to DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed by over 2,400 Filipino workers expressing their willingness to pay for pre-quarantine departure costs and RT-PCR tests required by MOL to break the logjam and "hasten their deployment."