Sunday, September 06, 2009


President-not-so-wannabe Noynoy Aquino, who had recently crushed the dreams of president-so-much-wannabe Mar Roxas and first lady-extremely-wannabe Korina Sanchez to a pulp, will have to look back someday soon to trace his roots, and focus perhaps once again, just like what his late mother President Corazon Aquino did some years ago, proving an extensive and pervasive influence of the Chinese in the Philippines.

Cory indeed said she was proud of her Chinese heritage and believed that many Filipinos share her pride. Hence, Noynoy's family on his mother's side (Cojuangco) descended from the Koh family of China whose members settled in the Philippines in the 19th century.

The Chinese influence seeps down into almost every facet of Philippine life and more so in the economic aspect. This strong influence has extended to the political life of Cory Aquino who, during her term, appointed many with Chinese lineage to high government positions and helped several get elected to local and legislative seats. To name a few: Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee, Undersecretary Manuel Lim, Police General Alfredo Lim, Representatives Jose Yap, Jose Cojuangco, Emigdio Tanjuatco, Renato Yap, Orlando Pua, Jose Ong and Nikki Coseteng. Also, NFA Administrator Emil Ong, Ambassadors Alfonso Yuchengco and Domingo Lee, and BIR Commissioner Bienvenido Tan. If and when Noynoy makes it to the presidency, he could very well appoint Chinoys to his administration, as some old habits are really hard to break, good and bad alike.

Even our very own national hero Jose Rizal was part Chinese. The first Filipino Catholic saint Lorenzo Ruiz of Binondo was half-Chinese.

Contributions of Chinese businessmen spell the difference between victory and defeat especially in local elections. No self-respecting politico would be caught without at least one Chinese millionaire as his compadre.

The first Chinese immigrants to the Philippines came as early as 200 A.D. as traders. Many remained in the country and intermarried with the natives. Their descendants contributed much to the country's economic growth. Dr. H. Otley Beyer says that the first considerable trade between the Philippines and China was initiated by the hardy and venturesome traders who went through the route of the Malacca Straits after they fled South China which was then in turmoil. Dr. Andres V. Castillo writes, "Chinese industry, patience and skill have been demonstrated time and again in practically every phase of human endeavor they have chosen to undertake - in the arts, crafts and trade, the processing and manufacture of commodities from indigenous raw materials, the distribution and marketing of produce, the mining of ores and the use of metals."
The effects of their activities have permeated nearly every social and economic stratum in the Philippines. Chinese blood flows in Filipino veins.

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