Cayetano lauds 'resilient' Philippines-China ties on Philippine Independence Day

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
Cayetano lauds 'resilient' Philippines-China ties on Philippine Independence Day
This file photo shows Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.
Senate of the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano commended the Philippines' relations with Hong Kong during this year's Independence Day on June 12, saying that the financial and business center in China remains a "vital partner" to the country's progress.

During an Independence Day event hosted by the Consulate General of the Philippines in Hong Kong, the Senate accounts committee chairperson said the country's relations with Hong Kong are "resilient, relevant and reliable," according to a press release.

"If you ask me to describe our relationship with Hong Kong in particular, and China in general, it is resilient. [There are] issues and problems [that we face], but we always find a way to become brothers and sisters again," said Cayetano, who previously served as foreign affairs secretary from 2017 to 2018. 

The senator also described how both countries have remained "relevant" and "reliable" to each other, particularly during times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

"When you need us, we will be there for you, and when we need you, you're always there for us," the senator added.

Cayetano's expression of gratitude to Hong Kong takes place amid deepening animosity between China and the Philippines due to repeated confrontations between both countries' coast guard vessels in the disputed South China Sea since 2023.

Over the past year, Chinese vessels have routinely blocked the Philippines' resupply missions to BRP Sierra Madre, at times deploying water cannons against Filipino crew. 

Once a city with a vibrant civil society, Hong Kong has increasingly come under international scrutiny for its declining human rights situation, with reports of widespread suppression of dissent, restrictions on freedom of speech, and the erosion of judicial independence. 

The imposition of the National Security Law in 2020 marked a significant turning point in Hong Kong, as the law reportedly emboldened authorities to arrest scores of pro-democracy activists and journalists. 

Cayetano described the celebration of the 126th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine independence in Hong Kong as a "tribute" to the overseas Filipino workers there.

In his speech, Cayetano said that despite "many conflicts around the world," Hong Kong and the Philippines have found "a way to be one family." 

The Philippines and Hong Kong maintain close economic ties, with Hong Kong being the Philippines’ sixth-largest trading partner in 2023.

Over 196,000 Filipino migrant workers work in Hong Kong as domestic helpers or household service workers.

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