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Tsinoys urged: Serve as bridge in West Philippine Sea

MANILA, Philippines — The Filipino-Chinese community has a significant role in de-escalating tensions and resolving the conflict in the West Philippine Sea, in which they could serve as a “bridge” between China and the Philippines, according to Senate President Francis Escudero. 

“I request and pray that you serve as a bridge in the raging and apparently angry ocean that we call the West Philippine Sea, between our country and China, so that any misunderstanding can be resolved and put aside,” he said, drawing inspiration from Simon and Garfunkel’s song “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” 

“The role that FFCCCII (Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc.) and Filipino-Chinese communities can play is big and wide,” he noted. 

Escudero made the statement on June 7 during the celebration of the 23rd Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day and the 49th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the Philippines and China. 

The FFCCCII hosted the event. 

Escudero is optimistic that the West Philippine Sea conflict will be resolved peacefully. 

“The misunderstanding and conflict between China and the Philippines are just a dot in our shared history. In other words, we will pass and overcome this,” he said. 

He recalled historical ties dating back to the 9th century, long before the arrival of Spanish and American colonizers in the Philippines. 

“The roots and history between our two countries are deep. We’ve had (more than one) thousand years of ties and relations, whether cultural or economic, between our countries and we have not fought over anything,” he added. 

“In the whole world right now, as we speak, there are 150 conflicts and misunderstandings related to territory... No one wants war, no one wants to clash,” he noted. 

Escudero hoped that West Philippine Sea tensions would “cool down” and “any misunderstandings will subside and whatever challenges or trials we will face in the coming weeks and months related to this will be overcome as a nation and as a race.” 

Mutual respect and dialogue are crucial to overcome the conflict, he said. 

A common stand against China’s “self-set rules” has been recommended by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to