14 congresswomen visit China, talk peace

In China, Pangasinan Rep Gina De Venecia and other lawmakers call for 'mutual Respect, mutual benefit'

(file photo courtesy of congress.gov.ph)

MANILA, Philippines – Amid tension between the Philippines and China, Pangasinan Rep Gina De Venecia last month led a group of congresswomen in a 9-day “goodwill visit” to China.

De Venecia said they hesitated to go but decided to honor a long-scheduled commitment to visit China. They were invited by the Communist Party of China.

“The House 14 took the China visit as an opportunity to contribute in the peace-keeping efforts and help perpetuate a harmonious Philippine-China relationship as unofficial envoys of peace,” De Venecia said in a statement on Wednesday, May 2.

De Venecia said she spoke at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on April 20, where she said that the Philippines and China should adopt the “Hu Hu Jing, Hu Hui” principle, which means “mutual respect, mutual benefit.”

The congresswoman’s husband, former Speaker Jose De Venecia Jr, was known for his good relationship with the Chinese government. He was also dragged into the allegedly anomalous national broadband deal with Chinese company ZTE Corp.

Fourteen delegates of the Association of Women Legislators Foundation, Inc. (AWLFI) of the Philippine House of Representatives met Chinese political and business leaders in  Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu & Dijuangyan of the Sichuan province. They discussed women issues and Sino-Filipino friendship.

Aside from De Venecia, the other congresswomen are representatives Janette Garin, Daisy Avance-Fuentes, Josefina Joson, Maria Theresa Bonoan-David, Bai Sandra Sema,  Bernadette Herrera-Dy,  Mercedes Alvarez, Rachel Marguerite Del Mar, Ana Cristina Go, Linabelle Ruth Villarica, Emmeline Aglipay, Nancy Catamco, Rep. Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales, Abigail Faye Ferriol.

“It took a lot of courage from the members of the delegation to join this official and people-to-people visit amid the brewing tension at the Panatag Islands at
the West Philippine Sea; to the Chinese, Huangyan Island in the South China Sea,” De Venecia said.

“In the end, we decided it was prudent to honor our long-standing and long-scheduled commitment to visit China upon the invitation of the Communist Party of China (CPP),” she added.

In September 2011, President Benigno Aquino III and China President Hu Jintao declared the years 2012 and 2013 as Years of Friendly Exchanges.

But both countries are now locked in a standoff in Scarborough Shoal, which is already on its 4th week. – Rappler.com