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Hontiveros urges WHO to include Taiwan in global pandemic response

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
Hontiveros urges WHO to include Taiwan in global pandemic response
Delegates gather on the opening day of 75th World Health Assembly of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva on May 22, 2022.
AFP / JEAN-GUY PYTHON

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Risa Hontiveros, a health advocate, appealed to the World Health Organization (WHO) to include Taiwan in its global pandemic response, explaining that ignoring the island will cause gaps in efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19.

This comes days after Taiwan was barred from attending a WHO general assembly meeting, following pressure from China, which claims that Taiwan is its province and that it is not an independent state. 

"It is disturbing that Taiwan is not included in WHO's pandemic response plans. Experts say that the fight against the pandemic should be inclusive. Ignoring Taiwan creates a loophole in the global health network," the lawmaker said in a mix of Filipino and English in a statement on Wednesday. 

In a joint letter addressed to WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Hontiveros said that infectious diseases "know no borders" and that every country in the world should work together "regardless of political considerations."

She called on the WHO official to invite Taiwan to attend the 75th World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland which started on May 22 and ends May 28, and include the island in all of WHO's meetings and activities. 

The senator, who has secured another term in the Upper House, said that the continued exclusion of Taiwan by WHO "ignores the health and welfare of 23.5 million people, including 150,000 Filipinos based in Taiwan."

Hontiveros noted that Taiwan was lauded for its effective COVID-19 response. She also recognized Taiwan as an independent state and stressed the need to recognize it as a nation.

The Philippines has a "One China" policy and has formal diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, which considers Taiwan a province. 

Agence France-Presse reported in January 2022 that Beijing has been increasing military and diplomatic pressure on the island since Tsai Ing-wen, who rejects China's stance, was elected in 2016. 

Taiwan is not a member of the WHO as it is not listed as a country under the global organization's database. 

 

BEIJING

CHINA

RISA HONTIVEROS

TAIWAN

WHO

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

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