The Taiwan Alumni Association in the Philippines (TAA), a group of Filipino scholars who were Taiwan Scholarship grant recipients under the government of the Taiwan, held this year’s gathering on June 28 in Makati City.
Minister Samson T.L. Chang, deputy representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines, attended the event and expounded on the deep friendship that is shared by both nations.
Minister Chang specially mentioned that Taiwan is the first country to extend its deepest sympathies and pledged financial aid to the Philippines after Typhoon Yolanda struck in November 2013. He also mentioned that the relief supplies from Taiwan have amounted to more than $ 12.22 million thus far—a solid evidence of their commitment to the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Minister Chang also noted that there are still other potential avenues of cooperation between Taiwan and the Philippines especially in the field of business and trade.
Besides Minister Chang, Director Robert H.M. Leng of the TECO Economic Division also gave a keynote speech on the strong Taiwan-Philippines bilateral and trade relationship, and the benefits of Taiwan’s participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). He mentioned that as long-time partners, Taiwan’s RCEP inclusion would contribute to the Philippines’ economic competitiveness and prospects for growth, especially in the field of Small-Medium Enterprise (SME) development. Director Leng also encouraged the scholars to support this worthy cause, which will be monumental for the advancement of the mutual interests of Taiwan and the Philippines.
During the event, the Filipino scholars also expressed their gratitude to the Taiwan government and the TECO for scholarships, as their studies in Taiwan have opened up so many opportunities for them. Many of the TAA members currently work for the Philippine government, teach at universities, and lead their very own companies. Aside from pursuing their studies, the scholars were able to have an insight to Taiwan’s rich culture and make friends with the Taiwanese people who share the same values of friendship and hospitality.
In line with Taiwan’s mission to strengthen its educational and cultural linkages with the Philippines, a number of Filipinos are specially given the opportunity to go to Taiwan and study in the university of their choice every year. Since 1996, over 100 Filipinos from various fields of expertise have already been granted these scholarships by the TECO. This year, several scholars are due to begin their studies in Taiwan this September under the scholarship grant.