MANILA - State-run television network PTV will begin airing Chinese shows and movies dubbed in Tagalog - a development that comes amid warming ties between Manila and Beijing despite unresolved disputes in the South China Sea.
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua on Wednesday said the airing of programs under the "China TV Theatre" on the country's government TV channel would allow Filipinos to "better understand" China.
"From now on, our Filipino friends could, for the first time, watch Chinese TV series, documentaries, cartoons, and movies dubbed in Tagalog on PTV," he said during the launch, which coincided with the 43rd anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and the Philippines.
"A new window is opened to millions of people in the Philippines to better understand China, its people, their long history, their rich culture, their daily lives, their endeavor and their dreams," he added.
The Chinese envoy said he considers the project as 'DreamWorks' made in China.
He said he looks forward to the airing of Chinese shows on PTV so that Filipinos may "get inspired" towards cooperation "to turn our dreams into realities, steady national economic growth, improved people’s livelihood, and secured regional peace and prosperity."
He cited how Chinese TV shows and movies tell stories about China's "reform and opening up in the past 40 years" that led to "steady economic growth."
"Reform and opening up really represented a strategic move to mobilize each and every Chinese striving for his or her personal happiness, for his or her family welfare, and for his or her national development. This is known as the 'Chinese Dream,'" he said.
Zhao said President Rodrigo Duterte had spoken of this same aspiration for Filipinos, quoting the Philippine leader: “The Philippines has nurtured the dream of a comfortable life for her citizens, a society where there are opportunities for all. We are now slowly making the Filipino dream a reality. ”
The envoy made the assurance that China would remain an ally of the Philippines.
"Please stay assured, in this grand cause, China was, is and will always be standing together with the Philippines as friend and partner, in realizing the Dream of the Philippines," he said.
The Philippine-Chinese television partnership came in the backdrop of the reported bullying of Filipino fishermen by members of the Chinese Coast Guard in the West Philippine Sea, the Philippines' exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.
The incident is the latest in a string reported Chinese incursions in the disputed waters. Recently, Beijing was reported to have deployed missiles and landed bomber planes on islands in the contested waters.
The Philippines has confirmed it was taking "diplomatic actions" over Chinese incursions in the disputed waters.
Ties between Manila and Beijing have seen a turnaround under the Duterte administration as the firebrand leader opted to pursue dialogue with China in hopes of settling the dispute.
China has provided the Philippines humanitarian and military aid and loans to support infrastructure projects.