LIVE: 2023 Award for Promoting Philippines-China Understanding (APPCU) | June 8, 2023
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... and encouraging collaboration between our two great nations.
Today, we acknowledge their invaluable contributions and express our heartfelt gratitude for their tireless efforts.
Their works have not only elevated bilateral relations, but have also sown the seeds of friendship that will continue to bear fruit for generations to come.
Inspired by the achievements of the APPCU awardees, the Association for Philippines-China Understanding commits itself further in its trust to champion the cause of harmony, facilitate dialogue,
and build lasting partnerships that will continue to yield fruitful collaborations between the People's Republic of China and the Philippines in various fields,
including trade and economic cooperation, education, cultural exchange, and diplomacy.
Throughout the past year, APPCU has tirelessly worked toward promoting a deeper understanding and fostering stronger ties between the Philippines and China.
APPCU's dedication to its mission has been exemplified through a series of successful events in order to help young Filipino leaders, students to visit China,
and at the same time to receive also young Chinese students and leaders to the Philippines.
Another significant achievement was the first APPCU Youth AC Competition that we organized recently,
choosing ten of the most outstanding Filipino students who accompanied former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in his historic visit to China last month.
The official visit of former President Macapagal-Arroyo and APPCU Chairman Emeritus to China brought significant diplomatic achievements.
It provided a platform for high-level discussions, fostering closer ties, and opening doors for increased cooperation in various sectors,
among which were the dialogue with Minister Wang Yi, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee
and Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs,
which highlighted the importance of the continued development and strengthening of China-Philippines relations,
and the dialogue with Minister Liu Jianchao of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China,
whose views on deepening exchanges between China and the Philippines and promoting the development of a state-to-state relations were exchanged.
Additionally, APCCO's notable meetings with esteemed officials of local government units of different cities and provinces,
of which I have actively participated for the last two months, demonstrated the organization's commitment to building bridges
and re-establishing meaningful connections by creating and revitalizing the sister-city-sister-province agreements with the local government units of the Philippines and China.
These encounters served as invaluable opportunities to foster mutual trust, facilitate dialogue,
and pave the way for enhanced cooperation in trade, investment, and best practices in local governance.
It has fostered partnerships with several educational institutions such as Huaqiao University in Fujian Province,
which has agreed to ink another memorandum of understanding on state-to-university re-establishment of cooperation for educational and training exchanges.
Moreover, APCCO's commitment to promoting dialogue and intellectual exchange was evident through the successful conduct of the 8th Manila Forum,
and this forum has been going on for the past three years.
Recognizing the importance of economic ties, APCCO has expanded its mission,
not only limiting itself to cultural and people-to-people exchange,
but also to help the government promote the Philippines as a vibrant and attractive foreign direct investment coming from China.
I'm happy to report to you that today, several of the big Chinese corporations are in attendance
in order to take a look at the Philippines as a viable foreign direct investment destination.
APCCO has tremendous strides in promoting mutual understanding and economic cooperation between the Philippines and China.
Through our unwavering commitment and outstanding efforts, APCCO has not only strengthened the existing bonds
but also paved the way for a brighter and more prosperous future for both nations.
To the awardees, again, on behalf of the officers and members of the Association for Philippines-China Understanding,
we extend our sincerest congratulations on this well-deserved recognition.
Your unwavering commitment, vision, and passion have set you apart as true ambassadors of the Philippines-China understanding and friendship.
And to everyone here present and those watching in other platforms, welcome to the third APCCO awarding ceremonies.
Thank you and Mabuhay!
Thank you, Chairman Lampino!
At this juncture, may we invite His Excellency, Huang Xilian, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the Philippines to give his message.
Your Excellency, President Ferdinand Bombo Marcos, Jr., Your Excellency, former President Rodrigo Ratutete,
represented by Congressman Avalos, Honorable Attorney Rao Lampino, Chairman of the Philippines-China Understanding Association,
Honorable Secretaries, Members of Congress, Dear Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Afternoon!
It is an honor to join you all in this ceremony for the third award for promoting Philippine-China understanding,
right before the 48th anniversary of China-Philippine diplomatic ties and 22nd Chinese-Filipino Friendship Day.
On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, I would like to extend warm congratulations to His Excellency, the former President Ratutete, and other laureates of the award,
and appreciation to APCCO for organizing thoughtfully this event.
Your Excellency, Mr. President Marcos, may I take this opportunity to thank you again for your presence at this year's ceremony.
You attended last year's ceremony, and this shows the importance you have attached to China-Philippine relations.
It is also the common aspiration and common expectation of the 1.5 billion people of our two countries combined.
APCCO was born during the hard days of the pandemic and has grown through thick and thin.
It has become a flagship program to enhance friendship and mutual understanding between China and the Philippines.
Over the past three years, 27 Filipino friends have received this award for their unique yet remarkable contribution to promoting friendship and understanding between our two countries.
The laureates have since organized hundreds of seminars, forums, interviews, and press conferences on a variety of topics.
Their effort is an injection of new energy into our friendship and bilateral relations.
Ladies and gentlemen, the world today is undergoing major transformations unseen in a century.
As neighbors and close friends for over 1,000 years, the Philippines and China have always stuck together through will and will.
Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out that China and the Philippines are both developing countries in Asia.
Our development is rooted in a friendly neighborhood and in the Asian family for win-win cooperation.
President Marcos, Jr. also emphasized that the future of Asia-Pacific cannot be determined by anyone but the countries of Asia-Pacific.
Earlier this year, President Marcos paid a successful visit to China.
Our two heads of state reached important consensus on further deepening our cooperation in various fields,
prioritizing the field as our key area in infrastructure, energy, agriculture, infrastructure, energy, and people-to-people exchanges.
We firmly believe that upholding mutual respect and trust, cherishing good neighborliness and friendship,
keeping the direction of mutual understanding and mutual accommodation in settling our differences
serve as the fundamental principles of our two bilateral relations.
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.
Excellencies, may I conclude by wishing this year's APKU awarding ceremony a great success. Thank you and Mabuhay!
Thank you so much, Ambassador Juan Silvian.
We shall now begin with the awarding ceremony.
May we invite on stage APKU Chairman Attorney Raul Lambino and President Mr. Sixto Benedicto to present the awards.
For the major contribution category, our first laureate is
Ms. Regina Rosa D. Texon.
Ms. Texon is the satellite lead with the rank of Executive Assistant 4 to the Office of the Vice President, Davao Satellite Office from July 2022 to present.
She is responsible for the overall operation and implementation of the Office of the Vice President's plans and programs for Regions 11, 12, and some parts of Regions 9 and 10.
All right, and let us now hear a few words from Ms. Texon. Kindly take the podium.
His Excellency President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., His Excellency Ambassador Juan Silvian, APKU Chairman Attorney Raul Lambino,
the officers and members of APKU, distinguished guests, fellow awardees, ladies and gentlemen,
First, I would like to thank the person who nominated me for this award, then Davao Consul General Lilin
and his staff, and of course this year's Board of Judges of the APPCU for this honor that you've accorded me.
Promoting friendship and understanding between China and the Philippines, for me, does not really
need an award. I feel this way probably because I come from Davao City, whose Chinatown
is the largest in the country. Hence, interaction between the Chinese and Davaoans is constant.
And also because Davao recognizes the importance of its Chinese populace and in 2010 created a
Davao City Chinatown Development Council, whose main task is to help the city government in
effectively implementing development plans and programs in the Chinatown area.
During then Mayor, now VP Sara's term, being her City Tourism Officer, I headed the Secretariat
of the Chinatown Council and I would ensure that we had monthly meetings to discuss any issues
that would affect Chinatown, organize events that would promote Chinese culture and receive
Chinese guests in the city. More importantly, I, with the Chinatown Council, pushed for the creation
of a development plan for the Davao Chinatown, which would complement the Davao City Tourism
Master Plan, wherein we ensured that Chinatown would be one of the top three tourism development
areas. In my present job, I've continued to promote amity and goodwill between our countries
in the different places in Mindanao that I visit. Not because Congen Lilin asked me to,
but because instilled in me is what I have learned from my interaction with Davao's
Chinese community. The values of hard work, benevolence, courtesy, wisdom, and filial piety,
which are some of the most important values of Chinese traditional values, much akin to
Filipinos. Through the years, we have walked, worked, and learned greatly from one another.
And if there's anything more that I would like to promote, it is to make all of us, Filipinos
and Chinese, respect each other and affirm our oneness as brothers and sisters. We are not just
friends. We are family. Dagang salamat, xie xie. Congratulations, Ms. Nexon. Our next laureate is
Mr. Jose Ong Tahan.
Mr. Tahan is the former president of APCU Baguio and former chairman of the Filipino
Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Baguio City. As an active member of the APCU Baguio chapter
for 42 years, he has lent his assistance to planning educational, cultural, military,
political, and trade visits of more than 100 official delegates from China.
Once again, congratulations to the major contribution laureates.
His Excellency, President of the Republic of the Philippines,
Bongbong Marcos, Jr.
Ambassador of the People's Republic of China, Wang Si Lian.
Distinguished guests, friends, good evening.
It is truly a great privilege to be among the awardees today, and I thank APCO and the
Chinese Embassy for this recognition and honor. In all honesty, I had no intention to make any
submission for this prestigious award, as I believe my contribution is humble compared to
others. But last February, during the years of the Spring Festival celebration in the
city of Baguio, our friends from our consulate office encouraged and urged me to make a
submission. Unexpectedly, I was chosen as one of the awardees,
for which recognition I was very grateful in a testament that my 42 years
of membership and efforts in APCO's 48 years history has not gone unnoticed.
This distinction and honor, however, is not mine alone, but shared with APCO
as we continuously work for increasing enhancement of Filipino-Chinese friendship.
Again, thank you very much and Mabuhay ho!
Thank you so much.
All right, ladies and gentlemen, we will now proceed with the outstanding
contribution category. To help us present our next awards, we would like to request the
presence of His Excellency, Huang Xilian, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China
to the Philippines, and Atty. Raul Lambino, APCU Chairman.
Our first laureate with outstanding contribution is Ambassador Roberto D. Tiglao.
Ambassador Tiglao is one of the country's renowned journalists,
columnists, and public intellectuals. He's also a public servant
who held various honorary posts in the Philippine government.
Ambassador Tiglao, may we please invite you for a few words.
His Excellency, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., Honorable Bongbeng Medeldea,
Representative of former President Duterte, His Excellency, Ambassador Huang Xilian,
of the People's Republic of China, Trustees and Members of the Association for Philippine-China
Friendship. Ladies and gentlemen, good evening. It is a high honor for me to be in the same event
with the representatives of two former very respected presidents,
President Duterte and my former boss in Malacañang, President Arroyo.
Both of them, during their presidencies, made heroic efforts to strengthen relations with China
while enhancing friendships with other peoples. It was indeed praiseworthy as they upended
Cold War propaganda by the West portraying China as hostile to the Philippines when nothing could
be further from the truth. And of course, it's an honor to be here with the presence of
President Bongbeng Marcos, since it was his father who made history when he boldly established
diplomatic relations with China on June 9, 1975. Tomorrow, nearly half a century ago.
President BBM, together with his mother Imelda and his sisters, were among the very few Filipinos
who were able to shake hands with the Asian great leader, the founder of the People's Republic
of China, Mao Tse-tung. I'm a fan of Mao Tse-tung and I hope Mao Tse-tung's vibes rub on President
Marcos. To APCO Chairman Emeritus President Arroyo, Chairman Raul Lambino, Vice Chairman
Jeffrey Ang, and to the other trustees of this association, I'm deeply honored and grateful
to receive this award, especially since it also gives credit to my lifelong work as a journalist.
I will not evade talking about the elephant in the room, about China. I have been writing about
China, specifically the South China Sea dispute, for over a decade now. In my articles in the
Manila Times and in my two books entitled Debunk and Debacle, these weren't opinion or speculative
pieces. Many of these were investigative reports based on detailed research and documentation.
I've struggled in my writings to expose the hypocrisy and attempts of the West to demonize
China so that it can maintain its hegemony in the world. Unfortunately, I have not been that
successful in convincing too many people and I hope this award will convince many of my countrymen
to really look into this problem. It is a challenge re-educating people on the real
issues and forgotten histories of nations. The West has a powerful media machinery
and its agents in media and even in the academe aren't even aware of this.
I was astonished, for instance, that even my old anti-imperialist comrades who used to storm
the U.S. Embassy's gates in the 1970s are now big fans of the U.S., even recommending that the
U.S. wars with China. The author and American intellectual, Noam Chomsky, said it best in one
of his books, he who controls media, controls the mind. Now guess who controls global media?
Whose view of the world most of our local media sheepishly follow? Philippine media
must take some of the blame for this continued brainwashing of Filipinos that we are brown
Americans rather than brown Asians. The difficulty really in understanding the South China Sea issue
lies in the fact that many of us have not realized that after a century there is a new
world order emerging. It is becoming a multipolar world that will not be dominated by single power
which is even at the opposite side of the globe.
I'm proud to be awarded among Filipinos who have helped in their own ways in promoting
Philippines-China understanding. Understanding controversial issues involving a close neighbor
should be of paramount concern. During these uncertain times, the world does not need another
world war no matter how hard the situation is. I am proud to be awarded among Filipinos who
no matter how hard the current hegemon with this military industrial complex seems to want it.
I would not be receiving this award of course without the help of my editor, intellectual
partner, my wife Betsy and the support of my son Dart and the creative works of my daughter Ria
and my son-in-law Perry. To them, my deepest thanks. Again, may I express my gratitude
to APCU for this award which I am very proud of. Thank you.
Thank you and congratulations Ambassador Tiglao.
Our next laureate is Ambassador Jamie T. Cruz.
Ambassador Cruz was a former special envoy to the People's Republic of China,
trade and investment. This year, APPCU recognizes his works and contribution
in promoting Philippines-China relations, friendship and mutual understanding.
Now to receive the award on behalf of Ambassador Cruz is his daughter Miss Kimberly Cruz.
Thank you so much. Let's give a round of applause to the outstanding contribution laureates.
Finally, we will now recognize the Hall of Famers. May we request Atty. Raul Ambino, Chairman of the Association for Philippines-China Understanding and of course His Excellency Huang Silian, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the Philippines to please remain on stage to help us present the awards.
Our first Hall of Fame laureate is Ambassador Carlos Chan.
Ambassador Chan is a philanthropist who is respected by major organizations not only from
the Philippines in China but in other countries with OECD offices. The ambassador was appointed
as special envoy to China by three consecutive presidents. His company OECD has been helping
Filipinos in China and promoting the Philippines among the Chinese. The Chinese hold the Filipino
made brand in such high regard that OECD has successfully established itself as a global
Filipino brand. Ambassador Chan was also one of the first major private donors who sent
medical supplies to the Philippines at the height of the pandemic. He has also donated over 700
schoolhouses across the Philippines and supported the maintenance of the royal tomb of the Sultan of
Sulu in Teochow, China that stand witness to the 600 years of friendly exchanges between China and the Philippines.
And on behalf of Ambassador Chan, let us listen to his son, Mr. Ozen Chan.
Please allow me to deliver the message of Ambassador Carlos Chan on his behalf. His
Excellency President Ferdinando Maldonado Marcos, Jr. His Excellency Former Rodrigo
Roa Duterte, represented by former Executive Secretary Salvador Medaldea. His Excellency
Ambassador Huang Silian, members of the cabinet and other government officials.
APPCU Chairman Raul Lambino, APPCU Vice Chairman Jeffrey Nang, fellow awardees,
distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good evening. I am deeply honored and humbled to
accept this award from the Association Promoting Philippine-China Understanding. Being selected
for the Hall of Fame category for year 2023 alongside other distinguished awardees,
including former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, fills me with immense pride and gratitude.
For almost 20 years, I had the privilege of serving as Philippine Special Envoy to China,
allowing me to represent Philippines in various capacities. My responsibilities included
promoting trade and investment, fostering tourism, and facilitating cultural exchanges
between our two nations. These efforts have contributed to mutual understanding, respect,
and warm friendship between Filipino and the Chinese people, as well as enrichment of the
Philippine economy. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to former President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo, the late President Binigno Noynoy Aquino, and former President Rodrigo
Duterte for the trust and confidence and for the opportunity. Lastly, I am so grateful to
APPCU for this invaluable recognition. Thank you and good evening.
Once again, let's put our hands together for our first Hall of Fame Laureate, Ambassador Chan.
Our next Hall of Famer is former Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
And in behalf of former President Duterte, Attorney Salvador Medialdeo will receive the
award. Former President Duterte has accomplished long wished for dreams for our country and the
Filipino people, showed their gratitude, giving him the highest approval and trust ratings
consistently during his whole term of office, even with a two-year pandemic that caught the
whole world off guard. Among his monumental achievements were the following, resolution
of the Marawi crisis, our improved relations with China resulted in the delivery of emergency
weapons when our soldiers were being outgunned, the reestablishment of trust relations with China,
which led to the stabilization of the South China Sea issues. 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. The early
delivery of millions of vaccines donated by China protected our frontliners and helped the economy
reopen. May we request Attorney Salvador Medialdeo for a few words on behalf of former President Duterte.
His Excellency Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr., President of the Republic of the Philippines,
His Excellency Ambassador Wang Zilian, officers and members of the APCU, honored guests, ladies
and gentlemen. On behalf of former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, I would like to extend
his deepest appreciation to the Association for Philippines-China Understanding and Embassy of the
PROC for being bestowed this Hall of Fame award. It is indeed a great honor coming from this
great organization whose main goal is to strengthen the relationship between the two
nations. 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. Mabuhay ang APCU. Mabuhay tayong lahat. Thank you so much and once again
congratulations to former Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. And of course former
Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is represented by former Executive Secretary Salvador
Medialde and PDP Laban, President Congressman Jose Alvarez of the 2nd District of Palawan.
Congratulations to all the 2023 APPCU awardees.
Now at this point may we invite here on stage the Department of Finance Secretary
Benjamin Zocno to introduce our guest of honor.
Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the Republic of the Philippines, His Excellency
Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.
Thank you very much to Secretary Ben Zocno for his kind introduction. Please, please take your
seat. His Excellency Ambassador Wang Ziliang, the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China,
members of the Cabinet present here with us today, the Honorable Members of the Senate,
and of course the Association for the Philippines-China Understanding Chairman Raul
Lambino, 2023 APCCU awardees, my fellow workers in government, ladies and gentlemen, good evening.
It is a great pleasure and honor to join you here today for the Association for Philippines-China
Understanding Award Ceremony, if only to demonstrate how important this ceremony is
for us and all that it symbolizes. Indeed, this evening is significant for a variety of reasons.
It is a fitting prelude to our celebration of the 48th year of the formal establishment
of the relations between Philippines and China, a significant event of our history
that reckoned from the presidency of my father. Built on a long and rich history of commercial
and cultural exchanges and intermingling, this bilateral relationship has been a boon
to our country's economic strength over the past years. The figures say it all.
Following centuries-old trade history, China has emerged as our top partner in terms of total
trade, ranking first as our import source and second as our export destination. China and its
special administrative regions are also second home to a substantial number of overseas Filipinos.
This evening's award ceremony is likewise an occasion not only to honor individuals
for their key achievements, it is also an opportunity to recognize our collective efforts
as a nation to nurture and strengthen this healthy relationship that has served us so well
through the years. We appreciate the initiative of the Association of Philippines-China Understanding
in having organized this event and all its efforts to strengthen the bond between our nations
through all these years. The role of the former president, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,
in rejuvenating the APCO organization, which led in many ways to the launching of these awards,
must certainly be recognized. In doing so, she recognized the great importance of maintaining
mutual understanding between our two countries. Perhaps the highlight of this awards night
is the high recognition bestowed to the former president of our republic, our Tatay, Digong
Duterte, and I join the entire nation in recognizing the former president for his
strong leadership and for all that he has done in building a more resilient nation.
But the revelry of tonight's proceedings, there is a lot more that we can and must do
to celebrate our bilateral ties. Time and again, we have proven that it is in our mutual interest
to preserve the special rapport and kindred spirit that we have established and nurtured
throughout our history. So, we will exert our utmost efforts to strengthen this relationship.
We will strive to make it more comprehensive, more strategic,
all with the view to advancing the paramount interests of both our nations and our peoples.
It is my firm belief that our relationship must not be defined by our innate differences.
We may have such differences, all friends do, but we recognize in the Philippines the
commitment of President Xi and the People's Republic of China to overcome such difficulties,
and I can assure our good ambassador here that that commitment also is present in the
Philippines' efforts to bring us closer together, Philippines and the People's Republic of China.
So, let us be bound rather by our similarities, our common purpose, our shared goals.
As a guiding principle, we will pursue constant dialogue and an amicable approach to our
decision-making and the resolution of issues. Being a peace-loving nation, we will adhere,
for all intents and purposes, to the fundamental adage that good communication is key to a good
relationship. For the honorees this evening, the saying is very appropriate. The reward for
work well done is the opportunity to do even more. Our esteemed awardees shall have fresh
motivation to pursue their worthy causes with more vigor, but they will also serve as exemplars
for our countrymen to emulate and to provide the spark to generate and spread goodwill
between our countries and our peoples. All in all, we will draw collective inspiration and
firmer resolve from these proceedings. We will depend on this relationship more than ever,
as we push towards a half-century of our diplomatic relationship,
and we will call upon APCO to assist us in this effort.
To end, let me say that I have nothing but bright optimism for the future of the bilateral
ties of the Philippines and China. Let us continue to work together to usher in an exciting
chapter for our respective nations, one in which peace and mutual progress will be at the heart
of the stories that we will write side by side, as friends, as partners, and as neighbors.
Once again, congratulations to this year's APCO awardees.
Thank you, Mr. President.
At this point, may we request the President to kindly grant us a photo opportunity.
May we call on the 2023 APPCU awardees on stage.
Next batch, please prepare the Chinese embassy officials.
Thank you so much, and congratulations to the 2023 APPCU awardees.
Up next, we would like to invite the members of the Chinese embassy officials on stage.
Thank you so much, and now may we request the APCU Board of Trustees and officers
to please proceed to the stage.
Thank you so much, and finally, may we call on stage
the APCU Organizing Committee.
Thank you so much, Mr. President, for granting us a photo opportunity.
That concludes our program for today.
Thank you, everyone, for joining us in the award for promoting
Philippines-China understanding awarding ceremony.
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