(File photo) Philippine ambassador to China, Chito Sta. Romana, during a previous guesting in the NET25 program, ASEAN inFocus weekend, in 2015. (Eagle News Service)
(Eagle News) – The country’s ambassador to China, Jose Santiago “Chito” Sta. Romana, who has contributed much to the strengthening of Philippine-China relations amid various challenges including the West Philipine Sea dispute, has passed away, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday, April 19. He was 74.
“It is with the inconsolable grief of the Secretary and the profoundest sadness that the Department of Foreign Affairs announces the demise of Philippine Ambassador to China, His Excellency Jose Santiago “Chito” Sta. Romana,” the DFA said in a statement.
“The Philippine Embassy in Beijing is coordinating with the Chinese authorities in effecting the immediate repatriation of Ambassador Chito’s remains,” it said.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs offers its sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of Ambassador Chito, to our nation for its great loss,” it added.
Ambassador Sta, Romana was appointed as Philippine envoy to China in December 2016 “in recognition of his deep knowledge of China’s history and people.”
-PHL-China relations “fluorished despite differences” during envoy’s tenure- DFA-
Philippine-China relations “flourished despite differences” between the two countries during his tenure, the DFA said, noting how the bilateral relations with China “flowered all the more in maturity and were deeply strengthened.”
“We honor his important legacy of selfless service to the Filipino in the most challenging foreign post,” the DFA statement said.
Before he became the country’s ambassador to China, Ambassador Sta. Romana was also a veteran journalist who lived and worked in China for more than three decades.
He had served also the Beijing bureau chief for ABC News, the news division of the American Broadcasting Company, and covered China as a producer and reporter for ABC News from 1989 until his retirement in November 2010. He reported on on major stories such as the Tiananmen protests and crackdown in 1989, the crisis in US-China relations in 1999 and 2001, the economic rise of China, and the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He has also worked together with such ABC anchors as Peter Jennings and Diane Sawyer when they reported from China.
When he was a broadcast journalist, he and and his news team won an Emmy award in the News and Documentary category in 2000 and earned two other Emmy nominations in 2001 and 2006. His team’s coverage of the massive China earthquake in 2008 also won an award from the Overseas Press Club of America.
(Eagle News Service)