APPFI's 1st “China Colloquium” entitled: "Shaping the Future: Engaging China" was successfully held on 2014 September 18 at Richmonde Hotel. The roster of participants could not have been more prestigious.
Dr. Aileen Baviera, President & CEO, introduced members of the foundation's Advisory Board, the Honorable former Prime Minister Cesar Virata and Chairman of Iloilo Economic Development Foundation and La Filipina Uy Gongco Alfonso Uy. The Board of Trustees was also represented by its Vice President and UP Associate Professor Antoinette Raquiza, Dean of the UP Asian Center Eduardo Gonzalez, former Philippine Permanent Representative to ASEAN Wilfrido Villacorta, Chairperson of the Government Negotiating Panel for Talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, and businessman Johnny Tio Co. Also at the roundtable were distinguished experts including former Undersecretary of Policy of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Lauro Baja; President of the Maritime League Commodore (ret.) Carlos Agustin; founding President of Kaisa Para Sa Kaunlaran, Inc. Teresita Ang See; Director of the Center for Intelligence and National Security Studies (CINSS) of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR) Rommel Banlaoi; UP Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea Director Jay Batongbacal; President of the Philippine Association of Chinese Studies (PACS) Chito Sta. Romana; Director of the Confucius Institute at the Ateneo de Manila University Ellen Palanca; and Harrell Wong (representing Special Envoy to China Carlos Chan).
The discussions proved to be as extensive as the diverse backgrounds of the persons around the table, who had varied assessments on the specific dynamics at play in Philippines-China relations. All acknowledged that the current situation is quite dismal with a possibility of further deteriorating. Dr. Baviera explained that APPFI was interested in exploring ways of engaging China in more positive areas of relations, and this was acknowledged by the group as timely and necessary. Some proposals that developed at the session included 1.) supporting Track 2 diplomacy, including academic and multisectoral people-to-people exchanges 2.) engaging in research and information dissemination 3.) and building partnerships and bridges with like-minded Chinese and Southeast Asian institutions and organizations.
"Shaping the Future: Engaging China" is a flagship program of APPFI that seeks to explore key issue-areas where the country’s China policy may be strengthened and where windows for constructive engagement with China can be beneficially pursued. Its Colloquium series is intended to become a regular platform for experts and stakeholders to discuss, exchange ideas, and share relevant knowledge about China’s evolving role, and Philippines-China relations in its bilateral and regional contexts. Dr. Aileen Baviera chaired, assisted by Austin Ong and Ivy Ganadillo.