Issue of September 6, 2009
     
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20 sister cities pledge to fortify ties with Baguio
by Pearl A. Dacuag

“Foster a culture of oneness” was the theme of the recent Sister Cities and Town Twinning Summit participated in by 14 foreign and 17 local sister cities of Baguio in line with the city’s 100th year charter celebration.

“We need you as much as you need us,” congressman Mauricio Domogan said. “We acknowledge that we cannot achieve our dreams if we are not united with other cities,” he added, saying that social responsibility, security, and peace should always go hand in hand with other cities.

According to Benny Alhambra, chair of the City Tourism Office, the Sister Cities Summit aims to “promote and sustain friendship and goodwill among the participants.” He said this is also a place where each of the sister cities could highlight and promote their initiatives to “bring about a culture of oneness” say, opportunities they could offer to other cities such as tourism, employment, and education.

Francisco Blas, mayor of the Tamuning-Tumon-Harmon in Guam, said they have a lot to offer to the Filipino people especially in terms of labor work “for we export and import.” He said they need over 15,000 workers from laborers to professionals. “It’s a good advantage since we’re only three hours away,” he said, adding that there are no better workers than those who come from the Philippines. He said they also offer scholarships for foreign students who want to study in Guam.

A representative of the Foreign Affairs Office in Hangzhou, China, Meng Tieyuan said that in coming to Baguio, they hope to “carry more university exchanges” with the Philippines. He said that Hangzhou and Baguio’s twinning for 27 years has been fruitful especially in the field of education.

Other cities and towns are also expecting that through their visit here in Baguio, they will be able to promote their cities so they could gather more tourists.

Foreign cities and towns that participated in the summit include Cusco (Peru); Gongju, Seoul, and Taebaek (South Korea); Hanyu Saitama, Karuizawa, and Wakkanai (Japan); Honolulu (Hawaii); Shepparton (Australia); Taxco (Mexico); Vallejo (California, USA); and Voughan (Ontario, Canada).

Local sister cities include Angeles City, Alaminos City, Bacolod City, Calbayog City, Daet (Camarines Norte), Davao City, Dipaculao (Aurora), Lopez (Quezon), Lucena City, Makati City, Mandaue City, Marawi City, San Carlos City, Ormoc City, Pavia (Iloilo), Muñoz City (Nueva Ecija), and Zamboanga City.

Baguio and its sister cities opened a photo exhibit at the SM Atrium last Aug. 30 which will run until Sept. 7.


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