CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 August 2019

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Philippines thanks Hong Kong for welcome

HONG KONG (SE): The Philippine consul general, Bernardita Catalla, spoke of the long history of contact between her country and Hong Kong in welcoming guests from the diplomatic corps, business and social service sectors in Hong Kong to a reception at the Conrad Hotel on June 14 to mark the 118th anniversary of the declaration of independence.

She pointed out that since Filipinos first began arriving in the then-British colony in the late 1800s, a cooperative attitude and warm welcome has always been extended by successive governments in the territory.

“Thank you Hong Kong for the continual welcome,” she said, explaining that apart from the ever growing trade between the two, she is also thankful for the greatly elevated spirit in which the government now carries out consultations with her office.

She singled out recent assistance in finding premises for a new shelter for migrant workers in difficulties and cooperation in assisting victims of human trafficking.

Catalla also noted that she believes there is a growing interest among Hong Kong people in the history of The Philippines and a new outreach to introduce the country to students has had pleasing results.

In the same breath, she assured them that they are always welcome to visit the country to both enjoy the famed Filipino hospitality and learn more about its culture and society.

With tongue in cheek, she also offered to act as a personal guide to significant places of interest in the Pearl of the Orient Seas 

She assured her guest of honour, the chief secretary of the Hong Kong administration, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, that The Philippines would support the One Belt One Road initiative.

“These are exciting times for The Philippines,” she enthused, going on to tout the economic growth it has experienced over the past years under outgoing president, Noynoy Aquino.

However, she also admitted that the infrastructure of the country is worryingly undeveloped, which has severely limited the distribution of the benefits of the new-found wealth.

In reply, Lam noted the continuing growth in trade between the two territories, as well as trade billed in Hong Kong between China and The Philippines, adding that she believes that with the new initiatives of the Association of South East Asian Nations this will continue to increase.

Lam then paid tribute to the 160,000 or so Filipinos who work in the domestic sector in Hong Kong and thanked them for the contribution they make to the economy, as well as the social infrastructure and cultural development of Hong Kong society.

Friends, business associates and supporters then joined Catalla and Lam in drinking a toast to the future and prosperity of the Philippine nation, as well as relations with Hong Kong.

The maturing relationship between the two was evidenced by the presence of Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, the secretary for labour and welfare; Gregory So Kam-leung, the secretary for commerce and economic development; and Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, the president of the Legislative Council.

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