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Palace mourns Sta. Romana’s passing

He was bestowed with the Gawad Mabini with the Rank of Dakilang Kamanong in December 2020 for his contributions to diplomacy

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Malacañang condoled with the family and loved ones of Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago “Chito” Sta. Romana who passed away Monday. He was 74.

The Philippine Embassy in Beijing was coordinating with Chinese authorities for the immediate repatriation of his remains, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.

The DFA did not cite the cause of the envoy’s death.

Secretary Martin Andanar hailed Sta. Romana for helping forge deeper ties between Manila and Beijing, which the DFA attributed to the envoy’s “deep knowledge of China’s history and people.”

“We honor Ambassador Sta. Romana for his contributions to strengthening Philippine-China relations,” Andanar said in his regular briefing.

“Our thoughts and prayers to the Sta Romana family,” the acting presidential spokesperson added.

China’s Ambassador to Manila Huang Xilian recognized Sta. Romana’s contribution to the two nations’ friendship and conveyed his sympathies to Filipinos.

“I greatly value our time working together and will always be grateful for his friendship and undeniable contribution to the development of China-Philippines relations,” Huang said.

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Sta. Romana as envoy to China in December 2016.

Under Sta. Romana’s tenure, the ties between Manila and Beijing “flourished despite differences and flowered all the more in maturity and were deeply strengthened,” the DFA said.

He was bestowed with the Gawad Mabini with the Rank of Dakilang Kamanong in December 2020 for his contributions to diplomacy.

The Filipino envoy had facilitated numerous high-level exchanges, including Mr. Duterte’s visits to China. Chinese President Xi Jinping also had a state visit to Manila in 2018 — the first in 13 years.

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