MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday urged Filipinos to "foster stronger bonds" with the Chinese as the country celebrates the Chinese New Year.
"As we open a new page in our shared history, may we foster even stronger bonds of friendship with those of Chinese descent all around the world through cooperation, investments, cultural exchanges and people-to-people ties," he said in a statement.
The celebration of Chinese New Year where families reunite and exchange gifts, the President said, also reflects the "strong and inseparable" relations between the Philippines and China.
"The fact that we are celebrating this event and embracing it as one of our own reflects the strong and inseparable relationship bond that has been forged through centuries of friendly and beneficial relations between the Philippines and China," he said.
In his message, Duterte also hoped that the Chinese-Filipino community would continue to engage in "charitable acts" to help the poor and marginalized.
"Together, these small acts of kindness shall create a ripple effect that will benefit not only those belonging to your community but also countless others, creating a much bigger wave of compassion that will eventually redound to the greater good of our country," he said.
Since he assumed office in 2016, Duterte has adopted a friendlier stance towards China despite unresolved disputes over the South China Sea, which Beijing claims in near entirety.
His term has seen an increase in Chinese investments to the Philippines, including the rise of Philippine offshore gaming operators, which has driven arrivals of Chinese nationals here.