PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte extended Friday his best wishes to the Chinese community, a day before the celebration of Chinese New Year.

In a statement, Duterte said his administration was grateful that some Chinese and Chinese-Filipinos are going to celebrate the propitious season of the Chinese New Year in the Philippines.

“The government shares the joys and hopes of our Chinese friends and Chinese Filipinos who have found a root and reason for staying in the country,” he said.

Duterte also acknowledged that the Chinese have been able to influence the Filipinos to adapt their custom.

He also expressed gratitude that the Chinese community has contributed to the country’s economy by trade and investments.

“They have enriched the Filipino culture and history on their own,” the chief executive said. “Their cuisine has been dearly familiar in many Filipino homes. Their philosophy and attitude in life are wellspring of practical lessons that all of us, regardless of nationality, can learn from.”

Duterte hoped that Chinese and Filipino peoples would develop a “more profound appreciation of our heritage as two distinct yet intertwined peoples, and further fortify the goodwill that we have shared over the years.”

“To everyone else who believes in the miracle of beginnings and who makes a choice for hope against fear, my best wishes on this auspicious season of the Chinese New Year,” the President said.

“Each beginning signals new chances and vast opportunities for change – and change can mean a forward move, a rising, or a leap towards a better station, a steady ground, a reason to be grateful for and proud of the gift of life and the fulfillment of our aspirations,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)