Chinese-Filipino general's role in strengthening PH-China ties cited

Published August 1, 2021, 2:44 PM

by Roy Mabasa

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian has paid tribute to General Ye Fei, also known as Sixto Mercado Tiongco, who fought for China’s independence and helped in the founding of a “new China.”

Monument of Chinese-Filipino Gen. Ye Fei or Sixto Mercado Tiongco at a memorial park in Tiaong, Quezon (Chinese Embassy)

Huang described Fei as “a soldier of distinction who devoted his who life to pursuing China’s remarkable achievements in the political, economic, and military field” during a ceremony at the memorial park in Tiaong, Quezon on Saturday, July 31, 2021.

Fei was also credited for his role in strengthening China-Philippine relations and has been hailed as the emblem of the historic friendship between the two countries.

Huang’s tribute to the coincides with this year’s founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China and the 94th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army of China.

Fei was born to Chinese national Yap Sun Uy and Francisca Mercado, a Filipina in Tiaong in May 7, 1914.

He went to China to pursue his studies in 1919 and joined the Chinese struggle for liberation during his youth. He commanded the 10th Division of the People’s Liberation Army, the military district of Fujian, and the navy. He later became the governor of Fujian and Vice President of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

At age 70, Fei returned to the Philippines to visit his birthplace Tiaong and paid filial homage before the tomb of his parents who were buried in the town’s cemetery. He died on April 18, 1999 at the age of 85 in a military hospital in Beijing and was accorded full military honors during his funeral.

In his remarks during the tribute, Huang said China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development and strive to uphold world peace and promote common development.

“China’s armed forces in the new era advocate common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security, firmly fulfill their international responsibilities and obligations, and always stand at the forefront of maintaining world peace,” Huang said in a statement posted on the Chinese Embassy’s social media account.

In the same ceremony, Huang narrated the significant development that evolved in the China-Philippines relationship over the past five years, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping and President Duterte.

It was during those five years when the relationship between Manila and Beijing have been elevated to the Relationship of Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation, with intensified mutual trust and continued cooperation in various fields.

“As it turns out, a good-neighborly friendship genuinely meets the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples,” he said.

Despite all the challenges and adversities ahead, Huang assured that China will continue to work closely with the Philippines to address the COVID-19 pandemic, bring more tangible benefits to the people of both sides and maintain peace and stability in the region.

Quezon Governor Danilo Suarez who was present during the ceremony said General Fei’s spirit of striving for China’s national independence and people’s liberation is “worthy of our commemoration” even as wished that the two peoples could be continuously connected through shared goals and values.

Congressman David “Jayjay” Suarez conveyed his congratulatory message on the 94th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army and thanked China for providing assistance to the Philippines in fighting against the pandemic and hoped the two nations will further strengthen friendship and cooperation.

Also in attendance were Vice Governor Samuel Nantes, Tiaong Mayor Ramon Abad Preza, and Henry Lim Bon Liong, president of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry.