MANILA -- Filipinos can enjoy visa-free entry to Taiwan from Nov.1, 2017 to July 31, 2018, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines announced on Monday.

TECO said Filipinos can stay in Taiwan for the purpose of tourism, business, visiting relatives and attending functions or events without a visa for up to 14 days.

The visa-free initiative shall undergo a nine-month trial period as part of Taiwan’s goodwill and efforts under “New Southbound Policy” to build closer people-to-people exchange of visits and an economic community between Taiwan and the Philippines.

Dr. Gary Song-Huann Lin, Taiwan Representative to the Philippines, expressed hope that the historical visa-free initiative would attract more Filipinos to visit Taiwan.

He noted such privilege for all Filipinos is one of his long-time visions to “build strong bilateral relations and a closer living economic community” between the Philippines and Taiwan.

To reciprocate Taiwan’s goodwill and friendship, Lin urged the Philippine government and Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) to grant visa-free treatment to Taiwan nationals, as the Philippines has already given visa-free treatment to many other countries.

“Through these significant efforts, we will surely enhance our bilateral tourism, economic, cultural, educational and other areas of cooperation and exchanges which will eventually bring mutual benefits to the peoples of Taiwan and the Philippines,” he said in a statement.

Since 2016, the Taiwan government has endeavoured to liberalize and simplify visa regulations for Philippine nationals, including the free Travel Authorization Certificate (TAC) for qualified visa-free travellers and payable e-visa.

These two relaxed visa application systems will be suspended for Filipinos upon the implementation of the visa-free treatment starting next month.

Passengers who enter Taiwan before Nov. 1 with valid TACs may still continue to stay for up to 30 days. (PNA)