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LAST February 1, 2022, our Chinese-Filipino brothers and sisters celebrated the Chinese New Year. Today, February 4, meanwhile, marks the entry of the New Lunar Year, the Year of the Water Tiger.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna and myself humbly join the Chinoys in this momentous occasion and extend our heartfelt greetings to all the members of the Chinese-Filipino community in the city and the entire country as well.

Every step along the way of their governance as Mayor and Vice Mayor of Manila, respectively, the Chinoys have always been there, constantly helping and supporting their worthy efforts to provide the best possible services not only for the Chinoys but for the entire city of Manila.

The great contributions of Chinoys to the city’s progress over the years are worthy of the highest commendation and we, the officials of Manila, do thank them for supporting the local government of Manila in all its undertakings.

Particularly, our gratitude goes to the Chinese-Filipinos for all the help that had been extended to the city government, from the onset of the pandemic up to the present.

In fact, at the height of the pandemic, the China government allowed Manila, through the aid of the China government and the China Embassy to procure, at cost, 400,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines, making the city of Manila the only local government unit that had been able to do so.

Just like us Chinoys, the Mayor and the Vice Mayor were also saddened by the need to tone down the usual revelry that attends the yearly Chinese New Year celebration specially at the Chinatown district in Ongpin, Binondo.

Manila is host to the one of the biggest Chinatowns in the world and we also have the longest, noisiest and most colorful celebration of Chinese New Year. However, activities related to the occasion had to be cancelled in view of the recent surge in COVID infections nationwide.

Just like how activities to mark the Christmas season had to be disallowed, the traditional holding of parades, dragon and lion dances and lighting of firecrackers in the streets for the Chinese New Year revelry were also prohibited, even as a liquor ban particularly in the Chinatown area or in Binondo was also strictly implemented.

The said prohibition is contained in an executive order that the mayor signed and duly attested to by yours truly, as even China has canceled its Lunar New Year celebration for millions of migrants whom it discouraged from coming home for the Chinese holidays.

“I join them in celebrating this special day and wish that our Chinese-Filipino brothers and sisters will continue to be an integral part of shaping the country’s rich history and progress,” the mayor said.

The mayor’s high esteem for the Chinoys is what drove him, shortly after assuming the mayorship in Manila, into personally tearing down a makeshift barangay hall extension which was built at the very site where the statue of Roman Ongpin stands during the previous administration.

The said monument, which became an ‘icon of shame’ for years before Mayor Isko became mayor, greets visitors to the famed Chinatown district in Manila. It was built through the efforts of then barangay chairman Gerie Chua, in honor of Ongpin, to whom Chinoys look up to for his role in Philippine history.

Restoring the monument to its former glory is the city government’s small way of honoring Ongpin, a Filipino-Chinese businessman and philanthropist who was known for having aided Filipino revolutionaries during the Spanish and American occupation and after whom the main street in Chinatown in Binondo, Manila was named.

After having the monument refurbished and the site where it stands totally cleaned up and spruced up, it is now an Instagrammable spot that can be seen even at night. Mayor Isko this is such a small effort compared to what Ongpin had done for the country.

Mayor Isko Moreno says that just like Ongpin, the contributions made by the Chinese-Filipinos to the overall economic development of the country throughout the years is truly commendable while the values and work ethics that made Chinoy friends dominate major corporations in the country is worthy of emulation.

I cannot agree more.


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