(Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte wants more time to study whether or not to lift the travel ban on Taiwan amid the novel coronavirus threat.
This is according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, who gave an interview over radio dzbb on Thursday, Feb. 13.
“Sinasabi niya, bigyan ninyo ako ng panahon to ponder over it kung ili-lift natin. Pero sa ngayon, iyong kalusugan ng mga kababayan natin ang nasa isip niya,” Panelo said.
Panelo issued the remark after Taiwan said it could impose retaliatory measures on the Philippines, which based the ban on the World Health Organization’s recommendation, amid the COVID-19 threat.
The WHO sees Taiwan as included in China, according to Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo.
Taiwan, however, has maintained it was separate from China, the seat of the virus outbreak.
According to Panelo, in any case, the travel ban was imposed due to health, and not political, considerations.
“Ang sabi ni Presidente, maselan ang problema ng kalusugan ng ating mga kababayan, iyon ang kaniyang primary consideration – iyong safety, kaya nagkaroon ng travel ban,” he said.