Ambassador Peiyung Hsu's Remarks at the 108th National Day Reception of the Republic of China (Taiwan)

Ambassador Peiyung Hsu

Representative, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines

Republic of China (Taiwan)

October 10, 2019

Honorable Angelito Banayo, Chairman and Resident Representative of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office;

Members of the diplomatic corps;

Friends from the media;

Friends from Taiwan;

Distinguished guests;

Ladies and gentlemen:

Good evening!

Magandang gabi sa ingong lahat!

It is a great pleasure to welcome all of you here to celebrate the 108th National Day of the Republic of China (Taiwan). Your presence is a testament to the close bond and friendship between Taiwan and the Philippines. This friendship is a major factor behind Taiwan’s outstanding growth and development over the past year.

My government’s efforts to transform Taiwan’s industry since 2016 have yielded considerable success. In terms of competitiveness, Taiwan was ranked 13th in the world and fourth in Asia last year by the World Economic Forum, which also named Taiwan one of the world’s super innovators alongside to Germany, Switzerland and the United States. Meanwhile, overseas investment in Taiwan has increased significantly over the past year, with Supermicro, Google, Honda and Microsoft all announcing expansions of their operations in Taiwan. And through last month, overseas Taiwanese companies had moved 966 billion pesos in capital back to Taiwan, creating over 28,500 jobs.

Of course, Taiwan’s impressive development would not be possible without the 150,000 Filipino nationals who work in Taiwan and contribute to our society. These enterprising Filipinos sacrifice so much for their families, but it was with shock and sadness that I learned of a number of Filipino fishermen who were killed or injured in the collapse of a bridge in Yilan last week. On behalf of the government and people of Taiwan, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families of these fishermen, and I assure you that our government is doing everything in its power to make sure those affected are given necessary care and assistance.

Taiwan is seeking to further enhance mutual cooperation and ties with the Philippines and across Southeast Asia, and with the implementation of the New Southbound Policy, we have made important progress in expanding exchanges in such areas as trade, investment, agriculture, health, tourism, environment, disaster prevention, and higher education. For example, from January 1 to August 31 this year, more than 330,000 Filipino tourists visited Taiwan, representing an increase of 14 percent over the same period last year. Our target is 500,000 by the end of this year, and I urge all of you to take advantage of our program giving Filipinos two-week visa-free entry into Taiwan. You probably already know about Taiwan’s delicious food, beautiful scenery, plentiful shopping, and friendly people. But if you are not able to travel, Taiwan is coming to you—with Acer and Asus computers, bubble tea shops, and dumplings from Din Tai Fung. Taiwan embraces you in the Philippines too.

In official cooperation, I am very proud of what our projects have achieved this year. This past March, my mission started working with the Department of Agriculture of the Philippines to build a button mushroom demonstration farm in Baguio, and we are expecting our first harvest by the end of this month. Our next step is to expand this model to other parts of the Philippines. In support of the Bangon Marawi initiative, the Taiwan government is working with the government of the Philippines and the Buddhist Tzu-Chi Foundation to build 400 housing units in the region. And Hualien Tzu-Chi Hospital is holding educational forums and training medical personnel in the Philippines under our One Country, One Center project to share medical expertise.

In higher education exchanges, we held the 2019 Taiwan-Philippines University Presidents’ Forum in Kaohsiung this past July to discuss approaches for further cooperation. Taiwan continues to work with NGOs such as World Vision, the Tzu-Chi Foundation, and Taiwan Root Medical Peace Corps to provide support to disadvantaged groups in the Philippines. I understand that a 22-member medical mission from Taiwan is back to Manila from General Santos City, where they distributed free medical services. They will be with us tonight and continue on to Pasay and Baseco in Manila. These are concrete examples of our efforts to advance people-centered relations with the Philippines.

This is my third posting in Manila. Some ask me why I keep coming back here. It is because the Philippines has a special place in my heart. I truly believe that by working together, Taiwan and the Philippines can further our mutual interests and enhance the welfare of our peoples, and I know that I can count on your support in this endeavor.

In closing, let me wish His Excellency President Rodrigo Roa Duterte the best of health, and let us all look forward to another fruitful and successful year for the strong and enduring relationship between Taiwan and the Philippines. Thank you all for coming and I wish you all a wonderful evening!

Maraming Salamat Po at Mabuhay! Thank you very much and thank you for being with us.