Philippines to open consulate in Central China

Jun. 07, 2007

CHENGDU CITY, Sichuan, China (via PLDT) Officials of this booming capital city of the biggest province of China requested President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday to set up a consulate here, a request that she immediately granted.

Saying “it is a great honor” to be visiting Chengdu, the President assured Mayor Ge Honglin — with whom she had an informal meeting at the VIP Holding Room of the Jinjiang Hotel here that the Philippines “certainly will put up one (consulate) here in Central China.”

With a lady interpreter behind them, Mayor Honglin told the President, thus: “We are looking forward to the Philippine government setting up here if you would be willing to set up a consulate here. Chengdu is full of Asian culture.”

When it was her turn to speak, the President noted that the Philippines relationship with China is on its “golden age,” and so the Philippines indeed needs to have a presence in central China, specifically in Chengdu which, she said she knew as a child only as the gateway to Tibet.

“We have a comprehensive and mature relationship with China, but it wont be complete if central and western China are not included It is also an important part of our relationship to come here, and we have come here for trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people exchange,” the President said.

President Arroyo assured the Chengdu officials that “envoys from the Philippines, to be composed of prominent Filipino-Chinese, will follow through our conversations today.”

The President then called on Chengdu officials to “reciprocate” the investment of Filipino businessmen in Chengdu, citing the Henry Sy-owned ShoeMart which has set up in Chengdu its third branch in China.

She also announced that Metro Bank is about to open its third China branch in Chengdu, and that Oishi is also thinking of putting up shop here.

For its part, Chengdus New Hope Group has put up a feeds manufacturing plant in Pampanga as early as three years ago, and hopes to set up another one in Isabela.

“I hope more Chengdu companies would put up feed mills in the Philippines,” the President said.

The President expressed her elation over the signing of sisterhood ties between Sichuan Chengdus mother province and the province of Cebu. Governor Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu flew over to Chengdu for the signing rites with Sichuan Governor Jiang Jufeng.

The President and her party arrived here at 10:31 a.m. Wednesday from Portugal. Dressed in a sober gray trench suit over black pump heels, the President was met by Philippine Ambassador to China Sonia Brady and Chengdu lady Vice Mayor Zhao Xiao Wei.

At the foot of the plane, the President was given a bouquet of flowers by Yang Yin Chen, a seven-year-old Grade 2 pupil of the Cheng She Elementary School.

The President was immediately whisked off by a 20-vehicle convoy of welcomers to the Jinjiang Hotel for a meeting with the Chengdu mayor and a business forum with Chengdu businessmen.

The President then witnessed the signing of the memorandum of agreement binding Cebu with Sichuan province. She was feted later to a luncheon banquet and cultural presentation hosted by the Sichuan governor in the same hotel. (OPS) (

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