By Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos
President Duterte hailed the robust relationship between the Philippines and China as the world welcomes the Year of the Earth Dog Friday.
In his Lunar New Year message, Duterte recognized how the friendship between the two Asian countries helped the Philippines in its quest for stability and development.
“Our nation share a long and colorful history with the Chinese. This enduring friendship has contributed to our rich culture, stimulated trade between our nations, and fortified the foundation of our continuing quest for economic development,” Duterte said.
“May the Lunar New Year bring more opportunities for growth and success to all of us,” he added.
The President also highlighted the important role of the Filipino-Chinese community in strengthening the nation’s sense of solidarity. He also expressed confidence that they will continue in upholding the cultures of the two Asian countries.
“As an integral component of Philippine society, Chinese-Filipinos will continue to play an important role in shaping our national identity and in upholding the beauty of diversity in our respective cultures,” Duterte said.
“Let the joy of this occasion strengthen our sense of solidarity and goodwill as a single nation committed to the preservation of our unique and multi-faceted Filipino heritage” he added.
Last year, Duterte urged both Filipinos and the Chinese here in the Philippines to fortify the enduring goodwill that the two nations have shared over the years.
He also wished for the people of both countries to develop a more “profound appreciation of our heritage as two distinct yet intertwined peoples” while strengthening the goodwill shared over the years.
He added that the government shares the joys and hopes of the Chinese and Filipino-Chinese who find reason to stay here in the country.
Duterte lauded the Chinese for their contributions to the Filipino culture, history, cuisine, philosophy, attitude in life, referring to these influences as “wellspring of practical lessons” that everybody, regardless of nationality, can learn from.
Since assuming the Presidency, Duterte has been very vocal with his intentions of getting on China’s good side, hoping that it will benefit the country’s economy by trade and investment. However, this prompted Duterte to set aside the South China Sea issue temporarily in order to establish better relations with the Asian giant.
Even Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has described the relationship between the two Asian countries as “as warm as the temperature on Manila.”
“Winter has come to the northern hemisphere, but the temperature in Manila is still running pretty high. I think that somewhat reflects the temperature of China-Philippine relations which is also going pretty high on the basis of the positive improvement of the relations between the two counties,” Li said in Chinese during his bilateral meeting with Duterte in Manila last November.
Before 2017 ended, Duterte has repeatedly thanked China for its assistance to the Philippines, especially for the arms it turned over to address the five-month Marawi siege.