Press Release
May 25, 2022


Senator Risa Hontiveros is urging the World Health Organization (WHO) to include Taiwan in its global pandemic response plan. The lawmaker expressed her concern that shutting out Taiwan will lead to a gap in efforts to curb COVID-19.

"Nakakabahala na hindi pa rin kasali ang Taiwan sa mga plano ng WHO para sa paglaban natin sa pandemya. Sari-saring mga eksperto na ang nagsabi na kailangang inclusive ang paglaban natin sa pandemya. Ignoring Taiwan creates a loophole in the global health network. Baka ito pa ang simula ng mas marami pang problema o komplikasyon para sa buong mundo," Hontiveros said. The senator is a staunch health advocate who has consistently emphasized the need for an inclusive approach in pandemic response.

In a parliamentarians' letter addressed to World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Hontiveros stressed the importance of inclusivity in global pandemic response. She pointed out, "This pandemic has again reminded us that infectious diseases know no borders and every country in the world should work together to address any health concerns and epidemic crises regardless of political considerations."

Taiwan's non-inclusion in WHO is due to the claim of the People's Republic of China (PRC) that Taiwan is its province and, therefore, not an independent state. Since the United Nations (UN) limits membership to states, it sided with the PRC's One China policy in which it has commandeered the right to represent all of China in international organizations. This despite the fact that Taiwan has functioned as an independent state since the late 1940s.

Hontiveros further pointed out: "Taiwan is an indispensable partner in ensuring a successful postpandemic recovery. We can't just ignore its plight and contributions." To recall, Taiwan has been hailed for its highly effective COVID-19 response which is anchored on a strong plan for managing a pandemic that has been in place since the 2003 SARS outbreak.

Hontiveros is among those urging WHO to invite Taiwan to the 75th World Health Assembly (WHA) which is being held in Geneva, Switzerland until May 28. However, the proposal backed by Taiwan's diplomatic allies to put Taiwan's observer status on the WHA agenda was rejected. In any case, Hontiveros still recommends that Taiwan be invited to all other WHO meetings, mechanisms, and activities.

Hontiveros stated, "We recognize Taiwan as an independent state and we support its need to be recognized as a nation especially in the matter of the global pandemic response. Excluding Taiwan not only ignores the health and welfare of its 23.5 million citizens, but also puts at risk the 150,000 Filipinos living and working there."

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