“A friend in need is a friend indeed.”
Whenever there are calamities in the Philippines, Taiwan has always proven to be a genuine friend as one of the first countries to extend humanitarian assistance.
The Philippines, through this column, hereby acknowledges with gratitude the valued assistance from the Taiwanese people with whom Filipinos share common values of freedom, democracy, free media, rule of law and culture.
On 23 December 2021, the Taiwanese press issued the following statement:
“The government of Taiwan and Taiwanese community join hands to help the Philippines recover from Super Typhoon ‘Odette’ (‘Rai’).”
“In order to help the people affected by recent Super Typhoon ‘Odette’ return to their normal lives, and to demonstrate the spirit of ‘Taiwan can help, and Taiwan is helping,’ on behalf of the government of Taiwan Minister of Foreign Affairs Jaujhieh Joseph Wu presented the donation of US$500,000 to the Republic of the Philippines as disaster relief funds at a hand-over ceremony in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 22 December 2021. His Excellency Wilfredo B. Fernandez, Chairman and Resident Representative of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), accepted the donation on behalf of the government of the Philippines.”
The Taiwanese Association Inc. Philippines and the Love from Koten Foundation donated P2,700,000 and P2,000,000 in disaster relief assistance.
Vice Chairman Eddie U. Tamondong of MECO received the donations at a hand-over ceremony held in the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines in December 2021. Representative Peijung Hsu expressed Taiwan’s sincere condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims.
In January 2018, Taiwan provided aid to the Philippines to rehabilitate war-torn Marawi in Mindanao.
The relationship between the Philippines and Taiwan did not start from the recent past. It had its early beginnings way back 10,000 years ago and is believed to have originated from either the Philippines or southeast China, according to recent analysis.
Genetic relationship and flow of peoples between Taiwan and the Philippines were diversified by migration of Austronesian peoples who came to Taiwan and migrated southward to the Philippines.
This explains why so many people in Batanes and many parts of Luzon have Chinese features. This is also true in the Western, Central and Eastern Visayas and even Muslim Mindanao where there are many village folks who look Chinese.
The Philippines and Taiwan, traditionally, were not separate entities but instead were linked through the jade trade route between the two areas. The mutual interactions and exchanges in other areas like culture, education, agriculture and aquaculture are vibrant.
Now, Filipinos enjoy a visa-waiver from entering Taiwan for tourism and business purposes up to 14 days.
Trade developed and flourished.
The growing total investment amount between the Philippines and Taiwan in 2010 reached up to US$147.7 billion. Taiwan then was the third largest foreign investor in the Philippines. Philippine export to Taiwan was US$2.06 billion; Philippine import from Taiwan was US$5.06 billion.
Both Philippines and Taiwan maintain a de facto diplomatic relationship: the government of Taiwan maintains the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines; and the Republic of the Philippines maintains the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taiwan.
Today, Taiwan is home, host and employer of 150,000 Filipinos gainfully employed as overseas Filipino workers.
The government of Taiwan has a population of 23.6 million, a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$668.51 billion, a per household income of $15,OOO. In 2019, its economy was 21st largest in the world and seventh largest in Asia, with a purchasing power parity that ranks 22nd in the world of 196 countries.
Taiwan is recognized by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as an advanced and high-income developed capitalist economy. The World Trade Organization has accepted Taiwan as a member since 2002. Now, the United States is boasting Taiwan’s membership in the World Health Organization.
The government of Taiwan is a modern democracy with a free press and its own armed forces and a multiparty representative republic.
Twenty-one members of the United Nations plus the Vatican recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state.
by Art Besana