ADVANCING PH-CHINA TIES. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. poses for a photo with officials of the Association for Philippines-China Understanding at the Award for Promoting Philippines-China Understanding ceremony at The Manila Hotel in the City of Manila on Thursday (June 8, 2023). The award seeks to honor individuals who advanced ties between the neighboring nations. (PNA photo by Joey Razon)

MANILA – Former President Rodrigo Duterte and five others were awarded for bridging and advancing the relations between the Philippines and China.

At the 3rd Award for Promoting Philippines-China Understanding (APPCU), Duterte and former Special Envoy of the President to China, Ambassador Carlos Chan, were hailed as “Hall of Fame” laureates.

APPCU cited Duterte’s role in the “re-establishment of trust relations with China, which led to the stabilization of the South China Sea issues.”

It said this was “also recognized by other Asian leaders, allowing for the reopening of our fishermen’s access and the expansion of tourism, trade, employment, and international investments in the Philippines.”

In addition, it acknowledged the Chinese help given to Filipino front-liners with the early delivery of millions of vaccine doses to the Philippines during Duterte’s term.

Duterte was represented by former Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and PDP-Laban president and Palawan 2nd District Rep. Jose Alvarez.

In a speech, Medialdea said, “It is indeed a great honor coming from this great organization whose main goal is to strengthen the relationship between (the Philippines and China).”

“I am sure former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will always cherish this award with the thought that both countries must continue to move forward in order to achieve what is best for all its people,” he added.

Association for Philippine-China Understanding (APCU) chairperson Raul Lambino said the award conferred on the six laureates is a celebration of their “invaluable contributions” that not only elevated bilateral relations between the two states but have also “sown the seeds of friendship that will continue to bear fruit for generations to come.”

“In this increasingly interconnected world, building bridges between nations and fostering mutual understanding is paramount,” Lambino said.

“The relationship between the Philippines and China has always held tremendous significance given our shared history, cultural exchanges, and ever-growing economic cooperation.”

Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian, meanwhile, said the world today is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century that call for solidarity among nations.

“We firmly believe that upholding mutual respect and trust, cherishing good neighborliness and friendship, keeping the direction our mutual understanding and mutual accommodation in settling our differences serve as the fundamental principles in our bilateral relations,” Huang said.

“So long as the consensus between our two top leaders is implemented in real earnest and the above principles followed, we will be able to uplift China-Philippines relations to a new level, bring more benefits to our two peoples and contribute more positive energy to regional peace and stability.” (PNA)