PGMA cites RP-Sino economic, diplomatic ties at Fil-Chinese pre-Freedom Day celebration

June 10, 2009 12:06 pm 

By Joel C. Atencio

MANILA, June 10 –- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cited on Wednesday the long-existing economic and diplomatic ties between the Philippines and China during the 8th Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day at the Hotel Sofitel in Pasay City.

The prelude to the 111th Philippine Independence Day observance was under the auspices of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII).

President Arroyo noted that through the centuries, trade flourished between the Philippines and China and therefore showed Chinese merchants not only traded with the Philippines but began to live in the country.

”And that is why we have such a thriving Filipino-Chinese community today. Among the Chinese who settled in the Philippines, many of you also know, was my husband’s (First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo) ancestors, Sontua.

”He was a merchant from China who became successful and who helped finance the defense of the Philippines against the British forces and therefore earned for himself a Spanish nobility title. So, I am glad that my children are great, great grandchildren of a gallant Filipino-Chinese merchant,” the President said.

The President went on to say that many other notable Filipinos of Chinese ancestry were also known freedom fighters, the most prominent being the Philippine national hero Jose Rizal, whose greatness is remembered with a park in his name in his ancestral city of Jinjiang in Fujian Province.

”In my visit to Fujian, many of you in the Filipino-Chinese community were there, and we all visited and paid homage together to the Shrine of Dr. Jose Rizal,” President Arroyo said.

The Chief Executive said practically every Filipino has a Chinese ancestor, although not everyone might be able to trace his Chinese great, great, great grandfather "the way my children can do."

"But even if most Filipinos cannot name their Chinese ancestors, we are all thankful for the indelible contribution the Chinese have made to Philippine economic and cultural life," according to the President.

Filipinos have absorbed a significant amount of Chinese culture and traditions and "melded them with our own, from our cuisine — our 'pancit', our 'lumpia', so many other delicious dishes are Chinese — to the honorifics we use to address our elders, 'mano po' and all those other beautiful traditions."

”Given the very valuable role the Chinese have played and continue to play in Philippine development, one of the other things I signed was not only the proclamation on Philippine-Chinese Friendship but also Republic Act 9139, which helps other nationalities as well as the Administrative Naturalization Law in 2001, to ease up the naturalization process for native-born Chinese or other native-born aliens for that matter,” the President said.

”I wish more Chinoys would use the law. And if you have some problems with the rules and regulations, please let us know so we can ease them because we want our Filipino-Chinese friends living in the Philippines to be Filipino citizens,” she added.

The President was introduced by Dr. Lucio Tan, chairman emeritus of the FFCCCII. She was received and welcomed by FFCCCII officials led by Dr. Alfonso A. Uy, president; Tan; Ambassador Liu Jianchao of the People’s Republic of China, and Bernd Schneider, general manager of Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel.

The Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. has long been recognized by Filipinos as a partner in nation-building.

Since its establishment in 1954, it has invested and channeled its efforts into uniting the Chinese-Filipino community, promoting the business growth, and implementing corporate social responsibility projects to bring about meaningful benefits for communities.

FFCCCII has a network of 170 member organizations all over the Philippines which play key and vital roles in industries and communities where they are based.

The Federation has pledged to continue its efforts to further help push the growth of the Philippine economy and its tradition of service to the Filipino people.

President Arroyo also thanked the Chinese ambassador for recalling to her what she did in her first year as President, issuing Proclamation No. 148 to celebrate June 9 of every year as Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day.

”And why not, after all the friendship and affinity between our two peoples is centuries old, maybe thousands of years old. Because it is said that during the Ice Age, the Philippine archipelago was contiguous to the Asian mainland,” the Chief Executive said.

”So people from China migrated to the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia through land bridges and permanently settled in some parts of the Philippines,” she said.

”Today, our centuries-old relationship takes on greater significance, as China’s breathtaking economic success earns the admiration and respect of the world community, especially in the midst of the global slowdown,” she added.

”There are many countries that are looking forward to lead us towards recovery, and among the many countries being mentioned as the ones who will lead us out of the global economic crisis, the one that is best truly fulfilling that promise is none other than the economy of the People’s Republic of China,” the President said.

In China, manufacturing is stabilizing, housing and auto sales are growing. Imports of iron ore and other raw materials are turning around in that important economy, she noted.

”And that is especially important for the Philippines because China has been a very important buyer of our mineral industry. So China’s many good economic news accounts for much of the news of investor confidence returning not only in China, not only in the Philippines but in the whole world,” the President said.

”And recession or no recession as the world’s biggest developing country, China is taking its place on the global stage to ensure that the interests of developing countries are protected and promoted,” she said. (PNA) scs/JCA

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