By Deighton Acuin


Declaring the relations between China and the Philippines is priority, Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said the strong bond between the two nations has been manifested by China’s recent COVID-19 vaccine donation to Filipinos.

Arroyo, in an opening message during the Association for Philippines-China Understanding (APCU) Manila Forum, said the geographic proximity of two nations is a strong reason to declare the relations as priority.

“The relationship between the Philippines and China is priority for our country. One major reason is geography – the Philippines and China are located within each other’s backyard, so to speak, so good relations between neighbors is always a priority,” said Arroyo, who also serving as the APCU Chairperson Emeritus.

APCU, a pioneer and leading NGO in the country in promoting people-to-people diplomacy between the Philippines and China, held the first Manila Forum with Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank President Jin Liqun gracing the occasion via zoom.

Jin discussed China’s commitment to help countries recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Manila Forum was held in order to broaden and deepen practical cooperation between the Philippines and China to jointly achieve an early revival of the economy from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Arroyo disclosed the donation was conveyed during the meeting in which Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told President Rodrigo Duterte of China’s decision to donate vaccines to the country.

According to Arroyo, aside from the geographical proximity, another reason for maintaining good relationship is not only the increasing bilateral dealings but “also collectively, such as through ASEAN.”

“A third factor is that domestically, the Philippines has a vibrant well-integrated Filipino-Chinese community, for whom increased business dealings with China are natural,” said the former chief executive.

“A fourth reason is that infrastructure is important for the Philippines in our drive for development, and there’s no country in the world that matches China’s recent track record and capability in this area,” she stated.

Arroyo added: “A fifth factor is that China’s economy has been the most dynamic and fastest growing among the major nations, and may soon become the world’s largest economy.”

She noted that President Duterte has declared in a recent press conference that “China has been giving us everything but never asked anything from us.”

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