Monday, Apr 19

‘New Southbound Policy’ goes to Philippines via Tzu Chi

March 04, 2019 | Jonas Trinidad

Representing Taiwan's medical interests in its "New Southbound Policy," Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital doctor Li Chi-Cheng (left) discusses prospects of sharing medical technology and expertise with his Filipino counterparts. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

Story Highlights

  • As part of Taiwan’s “New Southbound Policy,” doctors from Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital met with executives of Tzu Chi Philippines to discuss plans for a year-long task of exchange of medical technology and expertise with Filipino doctors.

  • They aim to help improve the quality of healthcare in the country by introducing various technologies and strategies, enabling even the most remote medical facilities to provide proper treatment to their constituents.


Doctors from the Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital in Taiwan are poised to share their technology and expertise with their Filipino counterparts as part of Taiwan’s “New Southbound Policy.”

On March 4, a four-man delegation from Hualien met with executives of Tzu Chi Philippines to discuss the details regarding the medical initiative. The delegation is led by Dr. Li Chi-Cheng, director of the Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital’s Center of Stem Cell and Precision Medicine.

Tzu Chi Philippines CEO Henry Yuñez, lead the Philippine representatives with the presence of deputy-CEO Alfredo Li, and Tzu Chi International Medical Association Philippines coordinator Dr. Antonio Say.

“I’m sure the doctors here in the Philippines are very happy that [the Hualien doctors] will be sharing their expertise with us.” remarked Yuñez, who also promised to cooperate with the Taiwanese doctors to ensure the program’s success.

Launched in 2016, Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy aims to bolster ties with countries south of the island country. Among the broad spectrum of such efforts involves an exchange of medical technology and expertise with six countries including the Philippines. Dr. Li and his colleagues have been tasked with this endeavor to work with Tzu Chi Philippines in order to achieve the program’s goals.

“Tzu Chi hospital is presenting the project to the Philippines, which has a population of 100 million. Taiwan can provide a ‘win-win’ situation in the field of Medicine here in the Philippines.” said Dr. Li.

Taiwanese doctors plan to hold a series of forums about organ transplantation, stem cell therapy, and medical insurance here in the Philippines and to invite fellows to train in Taiwan.

Dr. Lee Ming-Che, director of Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital’s Organ Transplantation Center, iterated the significance of the medical exchange. He points to the fact that the doctors in the Philippines have to serve a larger population than the doctors in Taiwan (whose population is roughly a fifth of that in the Philippines). And some of the people in the provinces have to go to major cities like Manila to receive adequate treatment.

“We can share our experience with them so that they’ll be able to provide care, even to people in their hometowns. People from far-flung places don’t have to come to big cities like Manila for adequate treatment, as the same level of care can be made available in their hometowns,” said Lee.

“When we nurture one doctor, that doctor for his lifetime can serve society. So this is something very important for us in the Philippines,” remarked deputy-CEO Alfredo Li.

  • The March 4 conference at the Jing Si Hall was attended by executives of Tzu Chi Philippines. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • The first half of the conference outlines the procedural workflow of a bone marrow transplant operation, one of the cornerstones of Tzu Chi's medical program. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • The Hualien doctors also report on the success of the bone marrow transplant surgery of Martin Ko, one of two patients referred to Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital by Tzu Chi Philippines. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • The Taiwanese doctors believe this medical exchange will greatly benefit the medical system of the Philippines, since we serve five times as many patients than Taiwan. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Tzu Chi Philippines CEO Henry Yuñez (right) thank the delegates and attendees for expressing their support for the program. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Tzu Chi Hualien Hospital surgeon Lee Ming-Che specializes in hepatectomy, the surgical removal of parts of or the entire liver wish to share his expertise with the Filipino doctors so that they can be able to save more lives. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】