The Association for Philippines-China Understanding (APCU) said it is deeply saddened by the passing of Ambassador Jose Santiago “Chito” Sta. Romana, and said he exemplified competence, compassion, and dedication to duty during his multiple years of public service.
“He will be remembered for his faith, commitment, and outstanding contributions to promoting friendship and understanding between the Philippines and China,” the group said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The Filipino people have lost a diligent, dutiful, and experienced diplomat and public servant,” they added.
The group said he was one of the pillars in promoting friendship and understanding between the Philippines and China.
“Most of all, we will miss him as a dear friend of APCU,” they added.
Malacañang on Tuesday also mourned the passing of Romana.
“It’s a sad news. We mourn the death of Philippine Ambassador to China, His Excellency Jose Santiago ‘Chito’ Sta. Romana,” acting Presidential Spokesperson and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a virtual presser partly in Filipino.
Sta. Romana, 74, died Monday “due to an illness,” according to a statement released by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The Palace, Andanar said, lauds Sta. Romana’s contributions to boost the Philippines’ ties with China.
“We honor Ambassador Sta. Romana for his contributions to strengthen Philippine-China relations. Our thoughts and prayers to the Sta. Romana family,” Andanar said.
The Philippine Embassy in Beijing is coordinating with Chinese authorities for the immediate repatriation of Sta. Romana’s remains.
Sta. Romana was appointed as Philippine Ambassador to China on December 7, 2016, given his expertise and knowledge of China.
During Sta. Romana’s tenure, the Philippines-China relations have “flourished despite differences” and “flowered all the more in maturity and were deeply strengthened,” the DFA said.
Sta. Romana was a veteran journalist who served as the Beijing bureau chief of American Broadcasting Company News. He lived and worked in China from 1989 until his retirement in 2010.