‘Lack of understanding’ of PH-China relations | Inquirer Opinion

‘Lack of understanding’ of long-standing PH-China relations

/ 05:12 AM November 29, 2018

Dear Professor Monsod,

Thank you for being one of my inspiring professors in UP microeconomics. One of the memorable lessons you gave was that the facts must support the conclusion.


My question: What are the factual bases of your article “Why Filipinos distrust China” (11/24/18)?

You said: “With regard to China, our relationship with the Chinese government and China is relatively new.”



  1. China-Philippines trade has been flourishing since 900 A.D., as attested to by ancient Chinese artifacts that have been found all over the Philippines. In fact, the Ayala Museum exhibited an extensive collection of Fujian ware from the Song-Yuan Period (11th to 14th century, recorded as one of China’s golden ages).
  1. The 600-year friendship between the ancient king of Sulu (Paduka Pahala) and Emperor Yongle — the latter bestowed a royal burial for the sultan upon the former’s untimely death. (The sultan is the only foreign king to be buried in China.) Princess Jacel, a direct descendant of the sultan, said that, until today, the community in China continues to care for the tomb of her ancestors and treats the descendants like family even when they cannot communicate with each other. It is only recently that these stories of friendship that preceded the Westerners’ discovery of our country are being shared in public.

Even when China had a Navy more than five times bigger than Christopher Columbus’ crew, China never invaded us, but only exchanged gifts and opened trade that not only benefited the local economy, but also the region.

  1. The friendship and revolutionary links of Sun Yat-sen, who helped the Filipino revolution against Spain through Mariano Ponce and Jose Rizal.
  1. Chinese fighting and dying with Filipinos in every war of liberation against the Spanish, Americans and Japanese.
  1. Ateneo professor Benito Lim, in a publication by the PH-Apec Student Center Network, recorded that, in 1975, what the West vilifies as “Communist China” helped ease our economic difficulties (brought about by the oil crisis precipitated by the United States) by agreeing to sell us high-quality petroleum at concessional rates, when China was even poorer than the Philippines at that time.

These facts, among many more (including those unrecorded), clearly prove that our relationship with China (even across different administrations) has been that of friendship, respect and mutual assistance spanning centuries.

Shouldn’t we rather ask how come we Filipinos trust the United States more when it betrayed, invaded and massacred us in less than two years, while we supposedly distrust China which, across centuries of relations, only traded with and extended friendship to us?  Perhaps this is but one example of our lack of understanding of the depth and breadth of Philippine-China relations.

Of course, we must remain vigilant and be responsible for our own decisions, as no country would do that for us—and that can only start with having the right facts.

AUSTIN ONG, [email protected]

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TAGS: Austin Ong, China-Philippines relations, Inquirer letters, Solita Monsod
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