The Philippines' ambassador to China Chito Sta. Romana has died, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday.
Sta. Romana passed away on Monday in Huangshan, Anhui province in China according to his sister, Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz. The government is working to repatriate the remains of Sta. Romana according to the DFA.
"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. We pray for the eternal repose of his soul," the DFA said.
"We honor his important legacy of selfless service to the Filipino in the most challenging foreign post," it added.
Sta. Romana was appointed as Manila's envoy to Beijing in 2016. During his tenure, the Philippines saw a renewal of ties with China.
Three days before he died, Sta. Romana told his colleagues at the College Editors Guild of the Philippines batch 1969-1972 that he was most proud of serving as a bridge to improve the relations between the Philippines and China, when asked how he wanted to be remembered.
“Looking back, it was a rare privilege to serve as the Philippine Ambassador to China and contribute to the turnaround and significant improvement in our bilateral relations," Sta. Romana said in a message on Good Friday.
Sta. Romana was among the authors of a book titled "SERVE" that is set to be published by the Ateneo de Manila Unviersity.
"There have been numerous milestones and achievements during the course of my diplomatic assignment. But if there is one thing I am proud of, it is this: to have played a frontline role in building a bridge of friendship and cooperation between the Filipino and Chinese people that transcended any differences and contributed to regional stability and prosperity. For, after all, what is diplomacy for, if not to serve the people and promote the country’s interests?" Sta. Romana said.