People queue up to receive the Medigen and Moderna vaccines for the COVID-19 coronavirus at Taipei’s main train station on April 29, 2022. (Photo by Sam Yeh / AFP)
MANILA, Philippines— Senator Risa Hontiveros is asking the World Health Organization (WHO) to include Taiwan in its global pandemic response plan, saying ignoring it “creates a loophole in the global health network.”
In a letter to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Hontiveros urged the body to invite Taiwan to the 75th World Health Assembly (WHA) now being held in Geneva, Switzerland until May 28.
“Excluding Taiwan from participating in WHO and the WHA not only ignores the welfare of the 23.5 million people including 150,000 of Filipinos residing in Taiwan but also creates a loophole in the global health network,” Hontiveros said in the letter dated May 21.
Taiwan’s exclusion from most global bodies, including the WHO, was due to China’s objections saying it is not a separate country but one of its provinces.
But as the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, the senator stressed the need to work together and prepare for possible future pandemics.
“Taiwan is an indispensable partner in ensuring a successful postpandemic recovery. We can’t just ignore its plight and contributions,” Hontiveros said in a separate statement, noting that Taiwan has been hailed for its highly effective COVID-19 response.
“We sincerely hope that Taiwan can be included in WHO so that the goal of health for all can be achieved,” she further said in the letter.
In the same statement, Hontiveros also described as “alarming” Taiwan’s continued exclusion from WHO’s plan against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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,” the senator stressed.
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