Opening soon: Chinese Consulate in Davao City

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 22 April) — A year-old boutique hotel near President Duterte’s favorite restobar has ceased operations as the entire building will soon be home to the Chinese Consulate in Davao City.

The C-Tree Hotel, located along Acacia Street in Juna Subdivision, ceased operations on March 31. Its three signages have been taken down.

The establishment of a Chinese consulate here comes 20 months after President Duterte and China’s President Xi Jinping met in China in October 2016.

The year-old C-Tree Hotel ceased operations on March 31 and will soon be home to the Chinese Consulate in Davao City. MindaNews photo taken on 21 April 2018 by CAROLYN O. ARGUILLAS

In a Joint Statement signed at the end of Duterte’s four-day state visit to China on October 21, 2016, the Philippines welcomed China’s proposal to open a Consulate-General in Davao “in due course.”

The C-Tree Hotel’s management on its Facebook page posted on April 2 a belated notice addressed to “valued guests and clients” that they had ceased operations but said nothing about the next occupants.

“We wish to inform that C-Tree Hotel’s last day of operation was last March 31, 2018 due to certain developments beyond our control. Hence, we will no longer accept bookings for room accommodation and banquet events after March 31, 2018,” it said.

“We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience it may cause you. Likewise, we are sincerely grateful for your patronage and support,” the C-Tree Hotel Management said.

Arturo Milan, President of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) told MindaNews that no date has been set for the Chinese Consulate’s opening because “the building they rented somewhere in Juna Subdivision is still undergoing major renovation.”

Milan said they anticipate the opening of the Consulate “will trigger increase in Chinese presence in Davao either as tourists or doing business.”

“It will now be more convenient to transact business with China because we don’t need to go to Manila,” said Vicente Lao, chair of the Mindanao Business Council (MBC) and Regional Development Council co-chair and private sector representative.

Sebastian Angliongto, DCCCIII Life Chair and MBC Chair Emeritus told MindaNews the renovation will take a few months but the Consulate will open “within this year.”

He said an officer from the Chinese Embassy in Manila is in the city for the preparations.

Fifth Consulate

The Chinese consulate will be the fifth established in the city. At present, the city is home to the consulates of Indonesia, Japan and Malaysia.

There was a Chinese Consulate here years ago, the abandoned building still standing in a compound fronting the Santa Ana Church.

C-Tree Hotel, a 24-room boutique hotel, has ceased operations and will soon be home to the Chinese Consulate in Davao City. These two signages as well as the street signage have been taken down. Photo from the C-Tree Hotel’s FB page

Angliongto said the consulate opened in the early 1950s when the Republic of China (Taiwan) established diplomatic relations with the Philippines. At that time, the country had no diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China.

He said the consulate closed down after the Philippines adopted a “One China” policy in 1975, recognizing only one sovereign state — the People’s Republic of China.

This policy led to the severance of ties with Taiwan and their relations have since been limitedto cultural and economic affairs through the administrative office, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO).

Angliongto said the opening of a Chinese Consulate here will boost investments and tourism. He said flights from China direct to Davao City are also to be expected, allowing Chinese tourists and investors a faster way of coming to the city and allowing as well residents of the city and the rest of Mindanao to visit China without having to fly to Manila.

The former C-Tree Hotel is on the same street as the Ateneo de Davao University’s Matina campus,  towards Ecoland; 85 meters away from After Dark, Duterte’s favorite midnight watering hole, 2.6 kilometers from the President’s residence and 750 meters from the Indonesian Consulate on 6th Avenue in Ecoland.

The Japanese Consulate is located along Magsaysay Avenue while the Consulate-General of Malaysia is along Bonifacio Street.  (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)