Tell it to SunStar: China and the Philippines work with solidarity and love in hard times

THE year 2020 is destined to be a special chapter in history. Due to the impact of the pandemic, people's daily life has been disrupted. The world is facing tremendous changes.

October 1st of this year marks the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, and it also happens to be the Mid-Autumn Festival (Mooncake Festival) in the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. Though we could not celebrate the festivals together in person like usual, I have still received greetings from many Filipino and Chinese friends. The warmth of the festivals is shared among friends.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with President Xi Jinping at its core, the Chinese government has carried out scientific, rigorous, and strict measures for virus prevention and control.

In collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the international community, China has effectively contained the spread of the pandemic. Today, people's lives have basically returned to normal. China's growth returned to the positive territory in the second quarter of this year. China will open its door even wider. Its mega-sized domestic market and release of the potential in domestic demand will open up greater space for other countries' cooperation with China and provide a stronger underpinning for regional and global growth.

During the battle against the virus, the Chinese people have received sincere help and support from other countries, and in return, China has also helped in its capacity to the international community. According to statistics, China had sent 34 medical teams to 32 countries and provided anti-pandemic assistance to 150 countries and four international organizations. There are 56 Chinese foreign aid medical teams assisting the local community by providing technical advice and health education and training. Machines of all factories have been launched at full capacity to produce medical supplies and equipment for the world.

Since March, there have been 15.15 billion masks, 1.4 billion protective suits, and other medical materials exported. This is by far the largest global humanitarian emergency operation in the history of China, which is also a vivid manifestation of building a global community of health for all.

It is in times like these that friendships truly matter. China and the Philippines have always fought side by side against the pandemic during the last few months. The long-running friendship has been deepened in our joint fight, which will be a milestone in the history of exchanges between the two countries.

During the most difficult times of China against the pandemic, President Duterte, former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc, Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Singson, and many other government officials expressed their concern and encouragement as "we stand with China." In addition to that, other sectors, including the Filipino-Chinese Community, made monetary donations and donated other necessary materials to China. And what impressed me the most is the song video, "Let the World Be Full of Love," recorded by teachers and students from Paoay National High School in Ilocos Norte last February. Truly, love is the support for all of us going through these tough times.

Similarly, when the situation in the Philippines became critical, the Chinese government, enterprises, and non-governmental organizations have provided batches of medical supplies and sent medical experts to help the Philippines overcome the challenge.

Friendship counts most during these difficult times. In North Luzon, Ilocos Norte received 4 tons of medical supplies from Shandong Province and the Chinese Consulate in Laoag. Ilocos Sur received masks from enterprises of Hubei province and rice from the Consulate. Pangasinan received masks from Sichuan Province and rice from the Consulate. La Union, Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Benguet, Baguio City, Santiago City also received food relief from the Consulate.

Additionally, Baguio City cooperated with Huawei Company to improve technical support in diagnosis and treatment, which helped Baguio become a national model in pandemic control. Other Chinese enterprises and Filipino-Chinese Communities also donated large amounts of goods to the region. Like the Chinese proverb says, "actions always speak louder than words."

In recent years, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping and President Duterte, the relations between the two countries have witnessed a turnaround, consolidation, and entered a new "Golden Age." This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the Philippines. The two-state leaders have exchanged phone calls and maintained close communication through various channels.

China's "Belt and Road" initiative is closely aligned with the Philippines' "Build, Build, Build" program, and various practical cooperation projects have been carried out and recovered in an orderly manner. These projects will not only help to promote local economic recovery but can also improve the people's livelihood and provide employment for the people.

China has always regarded Filipinos as its good friends, good partners, and good neighbors. Any conspiracy theories or attempt to provoke China-Philippine relations, or smear China will be doomed to fail.

No matter how long the night, the dawn will always break. We are very pleased to hear about breakthroughs in vaccine research around the world. And we are glad to see the consensus reached by the leaders of China and the Philippines on China's willingness to give priority to the Philippines on a vaccine, and the upcoming launch of Phase III clinical trials of Chinese vaccines in the Philippines. We are fully confident that the Philippines will overcome the pandemic and resume normal economic and social life soon.

With the great changes in the world, uncertainties are on the rise. Although challenges exist, the future is still full of hope. For the double celebration of the National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival, we sincerely wish China all the best, and people will enjoy peace and prosperity.

May China and the Philippines continue to work with solidarity and love. Wish everyone a Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! (Zhou Youbin, consul and head of Post, Consulate of the People's Republic of China in Laoag)


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