By Erma Edera
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua on Thursday vowed to deepen the friendship between China and the City of Manila and promised that China will help country’s capital carry out its grand program.
Zhao stated during his courtesy call on Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso at the Manila City Hall. He invited Moreno to visit China, even citing President Duterte’s good comments.
“I have noted that President Duterte gave you very good comments. I would like to reiterate that since Duterte became president of the Philippines, the China-Philippines relationship has been on a better track,” the Chinese envoy said.
“Our relationship will be more vibrant, more vigor between Manila and China. We will further deepen our friendship that we will help you carry out your grand program,” he added.
Zhao noted that Manila has a sister city relationship with Beijing. Wang Qishan, the current vice president of China, established this when he was still mayor of Beijing in the 1980s, the ambassador said.
During Zhao’s courtesy call, P20 million was donated by the Public Welfare Charity Foundation, the charity arm of the Philippine Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, to the local government of Manila.
Moreno said the donation will be used to construct a bridge near a heritage site along the Pasig River.
“The money will be spent into a heritage site of the city located via Pasig River. Protecting heritage builds tourism. Tourism builds jobs and business,” he said.
“China has been investing in Manila by building two bridges that would connect Chinatown and Old Manila, Intramuros. The bridge is very symbolic because before, early Chinese settlers live outside of the walled city,” he added.
Zhao also told Moreno that there would be five more bridges across the Pasig River that will be financed by Chinese soft loans.
“These will be symbols of friendship between China and the Philippines,” Zhao said.
Asked about building closer ties with China, Moreno said he will let the national government handle the West Philippine Sea and Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators issue.
“It doesn’t concern Manila. I will let the national government handle it,” he said.
“If the Chinese do business in Manila, they should be protected the same way other businesses are protected,” Moreno added.
Jianhua is the 13th envoy to visit the Manila City Hall since Moreno assumed office in July.