The Manila Times : 'China our strongest partner' – Marcos

11 June 2022

By Franco Jose C. Baroña | The Manila Times

PRESIDENT-ELECT Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said on Friday he recognizes China as the Philippines' "strongest partner" at a time when the world slowly moves beyond the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"As we try to make our way in the post-pandemic world, each country will not be able to thrive, to survive and to thrive by itself," Marcos said during the Award for Promoting Philippines-China Understanding (Appcu) event held at the Dusit Thani Manila Hotel in Makati City, where he was the guest of honor.

"We have developed such a close global community both in politics, both in diplomacy and also in business. And so, it is not possible any longer for a single country to make its own way and say that they will succeed," he added.

Marcos expressed his belief that it is "the partnerships and alliances that we as a country will make with our friends and allies and partners around the world that will keep the stability of our economic recovery."

"And I think that, again, the synergy that will come from that cooperation is what I believe will bring us forward to a bright future," he stressed.

"Come to the day that we can say that… we are beyond the pandemic crisis, we are beyond the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic. We can only do it, certainly, in the Philippines, with our partners. And our strongest partner has always been, in that regard, our close neighbor and our good friend, the People's Republic of China," Marcos said.

He noted that the "long-standing, friendly relationship" between the Philippines and China has greatly benefited the people of the two countries and that both the diplomatic relations and fruitful cooperation between the two nations will continue to scale new heights.

"The relationship between the Philippines and China is a very important relationship that we should continue to evolve as the years go by and as the changes that we have seen around the world are affecting our own status within the region," Marcos said.

"With that cooperation and with that communication, I think we have been able to find a way to grow and to strengthen the relationships between our two countries," he added.

Marcos pointed out that he sees the future of China and the Philippines developing in many ways that many people do not see now.

"I will encourage our relationship to not only be in the very strict and formal senses of business or government-to-government or public-private partnerships — all of those we will encourage," he said. "But I learned a term in one of the conferences I was invited to in China and it is a good term because I believe presents for us another opportunity to grow closer and that term that I learned from the Chinese is people to people," he said.

He said the people-to-people relationship is "another place, another area, another direction that we can explore to strengthen our foundations, to strengthen the foundation of our partnership, our friendship so that we move forward together into the future."

Marcos said the difficulties, and the differences that China and the Philippines may have will be helped in every way as long as both countries "continue trying and continue to communicate and continue to be forthright in the interest of each of our countries."

Also present during the event was former president Joseph Ejercito Estrada, who was one of the Appcu Hall of Fame awardees, together with former Philippine ambassador to China Francisco Benedicto.

On the other hand, the awardees for the Appcu Outstanding Contributions are writer and entrepreneur Wilson Lee Flores, Manila Standard columnist Rodrigo "Rod" Kapunan, Manila Times columnist and book author Mauro Gia Samonte and Princess Jacel Kiram of the Sultanate of Sulu.

Meanwhile, the awardees for the major contributions category are National Press Club Secretary Paul Gutierrez, Prof. Cavin Franco Pamintuan, Prof. Celso Cainglet, and Davao City Investment and Promotion Center chief April Marie Dayap.

The event was organized by the Association for Philippines-China Understanding and the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Philippines.