Organized in 1998, in response to the growing needs of the Tsinoy community to address the new challenges and issues in mainstream society, the Chinese Filipino Business Club, Inc. (CFBCI 菲華工商總會) has evolved into one of the key organizations recognized and depended on by the government and private sectors.
For 20 years, through the efforts of its officers, staff and volunteers, CFBCI ventured into meaningful endeavors that made a difference in national society.
Since its first induction of officers in 1998, the CFBCI has held 10 national conventions with presidents, vice presidents, high ranking Cabinet secretaries and mayors as guests of honor and keynote speakers.
Each of these conventions provided as opportunity to touch base with government officials and community leaders, and to update and learn from one another.
Significant projects and networks
The CFBCI has undertaken many significant projects through the years. The Bahay Pag-asa immediate shelters for displaced Marawi families is the most recent and memorable, because this project responded to a grave and timely need. It was completed in a short time despite the many challenges and difficulties.
President Duterte attended the inauguration of Bahay Pag-asa Phase I last Oct. 2, 2017, as well as conducted a site inspection on Bahay Pag-asa Phase II last Jan. 30, 2018.
On Feb. 28, 2018, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go joined the President in the turn-over of 60 units of semi-concrete bungalow houses, 23.76 sqm per unit with kitchen, toilet and bath facilities and a Hardin ng Lunas for vegetable and herbal plants.
The Bahay Pag-asa Phase II housing complex was funded through a donation of the CFBCI, initiated by club president William Yap, with major support from director Carlos Chan of Oishi in partnership with Tarlac Heritage Foundation and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
In addition to the Bahay Pag-asa, development projects bringing timely relief and much needed assistance to various areas in the country included donations of artesian wells, school supplies, fire trucks, anti-dengue fumigation, raincoats for law enforcers. There were also donations for the restoration of peace and order and other social services.
In our calamity- and disaster-prone country, timely response and immediate assistance are of crucial importance. The CFBCI’s presence in disaster and calamity relief and alleviation assured the delivery of relief goods and medical services when and where these are needed.
Other major CFBCI achievements include the declaration of June 9 as Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day by former president Arroyo during the second Biennial Convention held at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall of Malacañang in 2002, where she was the keynote speaker.
Likewise, Arroyo was the first Philippine president to visit Chinatown in 2001 upon the invitation of the CFBCI.
In 2000, the CFBCI’s support was instrumental in passing the Administrative Naturalization Law of 2000, which was signed by Arroyo as Repubic Act No. 9139.
Other significant milestones include the establishment of sister-cities relations between Beijing and Manila on June 7, 2002, which the CFBCI helped facilitate; the refurbishment of the north and south bridges on Ongpin Street, which were renamed Filipino-Chinese Friendship Bridge and Manila-Beijing Friendship Bridge, respectively.
On Oct. 31, 2001, CFBCI and All China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC) signed a cooperation agreement at the People’s National Hall, with Arroyo and then president of the People’s Republic of China Jiang Zemin as witnesses.
The 19-member ACFIC delegation headed by its chairman, Gao Yunlong, who is also vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, accompanied by Chinese embassy in the Philippines Economic and Commercial Counselor Jin Yuan, paid a courtesy visit to CFBCI last May 25, 2018 at their office in Binondo.
The courtesy visit was highlighted by the exchange of souvenir gifts between the ACFIC and the CFBCI.
Education and training
Being a business organization, the CFBCI continuously conducts seminars and trainings in livelihood and entrepreneurship. Bag making, reflexology, hair cutting, baking, making of throw pillows, slippers, balloons, soap, candle, fashion jewelry are among the skills training conducted.
Seminars on micro-finance, development of small and medium enterprises, marketing, stock market and economic outlook, tax and labor laws and customs rules and regulations are regularly held.
In 2009, the SME Center set up by the CFBCI was awarded a presidential citation for “Best Practice for Creating Business and Investment Environment” by then president Arroyo.
The CFBCI also presented a trade exhibit, dubbed “Click!: A Showcase of Innovative Filipino SMEs,” for two consecutive years, showcasing to the public some unique and innovative products including food, handicrafts, footwear, health and wellness, novelty items and banking that cater to the financial needs of SMEs.
The CFBCI also awarded college scholarships through its Pagharap sa Pangarap scholarship program, which is being implemented with partner colleges and universities like University of the Philippines-Manila, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Philippine Normal University, Universidad de Manila, Technological University of the Philippines and Chiang Kai Shek College.
Since its launch in 2009, the CFBCI scholarship program has produced 289 graduates, plus almost 200 scholars this school year.
The CFBCI also sponsored free computer lessons through its Mobile Van Study Program which provides basic hands-on computer lessons for out-of-school youth as well as law enforcers, teachers and housewives in remote or depressed areas in Metro Manila and different provinces nationwide. This project is in partnership with Fil-Chi Love and Care Foundation, Inc.
Since peace and order and the fight against crime are of topmost concern to the Chinese-Filipino community, the CFBCI has convened forums and campaigns on anti-kidnapping, anti-drugs and anti-gambling addiction.
The CFBCI has always been supportive of major activities conducted by the embassy of China in the Philippines.
Thus, the CFBCI presidents were invited to take part in welcoming China’s leaders like Presidents Xi Jinping and Hu Jintao, Premiers Wen Jiabao, Wu Bangguo. They also hosted testimonial dinners for the China ambassador to the Philippines and the Philippine ambassador to China, Chito Sta. Romana.
The CFBCI continues its warm support, dialogues and courtesy calls with high ranking Philippine government officials like Vice President Leni Robredo, senators, congressmen and Cabinet secretaries as well as the chiefs of the Philippine National Police and its district directors.
Problems and issues are raised and timely recommendations are given in these dialogues.
In all these activities and significant events, the CFBCI represents not just the organization but most importantly, the Chinese-Filipino community. It has lent its voice and its presence to show mainstream society, our Filipino brothers and sisters, that we are part and parcel of Philippine society, we are significant cogs in national development and we care for our country and our fellowmen.