LOOK: Chinese flags raised at Batasan to welcome Beijing officials

CHINA AT THE HOUSE. Chinese flags are seen flapping in the wind at the House of Representatives. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

CHINA AT THE HOUSE. Chinese flags are seen flapping in the wind at the House of Representatives.

Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

Three Chinese flags were raised at the Batasang Pambansa to welcome the arrival of several officials from China on Monday, September 10.

The red flags of the Asian economic giant flapped in the wind alongside 4 Philippine flags raised in front of the House of Representatives building. 

PH-CHINA. Four Philippine flags are raised beside the 3 Chinese flags. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

PH-CHINA. Four Philippine flags are raised beside the 3 Chinese flags.

Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

Members of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) of the People’s Republic of China, led by its vice chairperson Ji Bingxua, first paid a courtesy call on Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Arroyo's foreign policy during her presidency involved strengthening ties with China, just like her ally President Rodrigo Duterte. (READ: Duterte admin revives Arroyo policies, controversies)

WELCOME. A banner welcomes the Chinese delegation to the House of Representatives. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

WELCOME. A banner welcomes the Chinese delegation to the House of Representatives.

Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

HANDSHAKE. Ji Bingxuan shakes the hand of Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Photo from Arroyo's office

HANDSHAKE. Ji Bingxuan shakes the hand of Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Photo from Arroyo's office

According to Arroyo’s office, the Chinese officials then met with Deputy Speaker Arthur Yap to talk about strengthening relations between the Philippines and China in the fields of agriculture, trade, infrastructure, education, culture, and the arts.

Yap was agriculture secretary during Arroyo's presidency. 

The other NPC Standing Committee members present were:

THE MEETING. Deputy Speaker Arthur Yap (R, wearing a barong) meets with the Chinese officials. Photo from Arroyo's office

THE MEETING. Deputy Speaker Arthur Yap (R, wearing a barong) meets with the Chinese officials.

Photo from Arroyo's office

House Inter-Parliamentary Relations and Special Affairs (IPRS) Bureau Director Edith Cardenas said “this is not the first” time the national flag of another country was raised at Batasan when foreign officials visited Filipino lawmakers.

But as of posting, she has yet to reply when asked when was the last time and for whom a foreign flag was hoisted at the House.

“According to IPRS Dir Edith Cardenas, it is normal for the Philippine government to accord honor to high-ranking foreign digntaries like the vice chair of China National People's Congress. Philippine government officials also receive similar treatment when they visit foreign countries. To her recollection, this is not the first,” said a statement sent by Cardenas to reporters.

Arroyo met with the NPC members just two days after she delivered the keynote speech during the China-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Mayors' Forum.

The former president-turned-Pampanga 2nd district representative said China should be the “Big Uncle” to ASEAN member-countries. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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