MANILA, Sep 17, 2019, Rappler. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and fellow members of his political party PDP-Laban met an influential Communist Party of China (CPC) official in Malacañang on Monday, September 16. Communist Party Secretary of Chongqing Chen Min’er and other CPC officials paid a courtesy call on the President days after flying to Davao City to meet Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, reported the Rappler.
A member of the Politburo, the CPC’s top decision-making body, Chen was described in a Palace press release as a “rising political star” in China. Chongqing, a major city in southwestern China, is one of the country’s important cities and is often led by a party secretary from the Politburo.
Chen was accompanied by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua, Vice Minister of the International Department-CPC Central Committee (IDCPC) Guo Yezhou, and Executive Vice Mayor of Chongqing Municipal People’s Government and Secretary General of CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee Wang Fu.
Duterte, meanwhile, brought PDP-Laban officials to the courtesy call.
Present were PDP-Laban President Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, Energy Secretary and PDP-Laban Vice Chairman Alfonso Cusi, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority Secretary and PDP-Laban Vice President for International Affairs Raul Lambino, Foreign Affairs Acting Secretary Jose Eduardo Malaya III, and senators Bong Go and Francis Tolentino.
Malaya is acting secretary because Foreign Secretary Teddyboy Locsin is attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The discussion centered on party relations between PDP-Laban and CPC, Energy Secretary and PDP-Laban vice chairperson Alfonso Cusi told Rappler.
The officials also discussed investment opportunities in Chongqing and the Philippines. Joint exploration for oil and gas in the West Philippine Sea was not taken up, Cusi added.
Sister city agreement
The weekend before he met with President Duterte, Chen shook hands with the leader’s eldest daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
Chen was in Davao City on Saturday, September 14, to sign a “letter of intent” to forge a “sister city” agreement between Chongqing and Davao City.
Chen’s delegation and Davao City officials discussed possible cooperation in “economy and trade, science and technology, big data and smart technology, and logistics,” according to a Davao City press release.
Only days before, on Wednesday, September 11, Davao City had also signed a letter of intent for a sisterhood agreement with Sanya City in Hainan province.
The southern city has existing sister city pacts with Nanning in Guangxi province and Jinjang City in Fujian province.