By Huang Xilian*
China and the Philippines are friendly neighbors. There are many Chinese enterprises operating in the Philippines. In the face of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines, the Chinese enterprises have worked vigorously to fulfill their social responsibilities and contributed to the Philippine’s fight against the pandemic. They have become part of the partnership between China and the Philippines in tackling the common challenge of the pandemic.
The Chinese enterprises in the Philippines have given their top priority to ensure their employees’ health and well-being. They have strictly followed the government’s instructions and developed emergency action plans, improved prevention and control measures and strengthened their own protection. So far, there has been no confirmed case of infections, or any cluster of suspected cases in the Chinese enterprises in the Philippines. Ensuring the safety of the employees, including local employees, is a contribution per se to the overall prevention and control of the pandemic in the Philippines.
The Chinese enterprises in the Philippines have overcome their own difficulties and extended much needed humanitarian support to their employees during times of trying. In response to the government’s call, relevant companies paid the thirteenth-month wages to the Philippine employees in advance. They continued to pay basic wages and necessary subsidies to their local employees to ensure their livelihood even after they have suspended working and stayed at home.
The Chinese enterprises in the Philippines have extended their helping hands to the Philippines to the best of their abilities. Since the outbreak, the Chinese enterprises have donated nearly three million medical items to the Philippines, including 2.65 million medical masks and 250,000 pieces of protective suits, gloves, and goggles, along with daily necessities and cash worth nearly ten million pesos. Major donators include but not limited to State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), Bank of China, Panhua Group, China Information Communication Technology Group, Power Construction Corporation of China, China Road and Bridge Corporation, China Railway Design Corporation, China Geo-Engineering Corporation, China State Construction Engineering Corporation, China Energy Engineering Corporation, and Qingjian Group.
Moreover, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, co-owned by SGCC, donated one billion pesos to the Philippine government. The Dito Telecommunity, co-owned by China Telecom, provided 375,000 kg of rice to the local governments. Zhejiang Dahua Technology offered a thermal temperature monitoring solution. Huawei provided technical support for diagnosis and treatment system using remote CT scans in Baguio General Hospital Medical Center.
Some Chinese multinationals based in China have joined the humanitarian campaign as well. The Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation donated 107,000 test kits and 500,000 medical masks. The TikTok contributed 1 million US dollars to the Philippine General Hospital Medical Foundation. The 51talk sent medical supplies worth 5.25 million pesos to the Philippines.
The Chinese reagents and testing equipment manufacturers, such as Sansure Biotech and Beijing Genomics Institute Group, responded timely to the demand of the Philippines and ensured sufficient supplies. They dispatched professional teams to the Philippines to provide personnel training and technical support and helped the Philippines to expand the testing capabilities.
In light of the urgent need of medical supplies in the Philippines, Chinese manufacturers have prioritized the requests and orders from the Philippines and exported huge amount of medicines and medical equipment to the Philippines, overcoming a lot of unexpected difficulties.
During the quarantine, the Chinese enterprises in the basic services such as telecommunications, power, banking, etc. have responded responsibly to the government’s call and overcome huge operational difficulties to provide unimpeded essential service to the general public. The Chinese and Filipino employees of those enterprises are part of the heroic frontliners in our war against the pandemic.
The pandemic is a common enemy of mankind. Solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapons. China and the Philippines have worked together to forge a new partnership for collective response. China will stand firmly with the Philippine people till the day of final victory. In this process, Chinese enterprises will continue to contribute to the new era partnership evolving between the two countries.
*About the author: The author is currently the Chinese Ambassador to Manila. Thus far, he worked with China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) for 30 years. He also served as China’s Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Read more.