June 17, 2024

Baguio City has entered into a “friendship agreement” with the City of San Antonio in Texas USA, a pact that will pave the way for multi-faceted exchanges that are mutually beneficial.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong and San Antonio City Mayor Ron Nirenberg signed the Friendship City Agreement dated Oct. 21 in San Antonio City, serving intention to “explore exchange and collaboration opportunities as friendship cities” in the fields of economy and tourism, health care, education, social welfare and culture, ecology and sustainability and military and emergency management.  
San Antonio City said a friendship city relationship “is frequently the first step toward a more formal sister city agreement, which helps communities explore and develop deeper cooperative relationships. The relationships foster citizen-to-citizen connections and play a role in economic development efforts as well as educational and cultural exchanges.”  
The signing of the memorandum of understanding held during a gala sponsored by the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Texas-Central Texas Region (PACC-CTR) highlighted the Magalong-led delegation’s visit to the U.S. city upon the invitation of Nirenberg.
As per the MOU, both cities agreed to an “expression of cooperative relations” and intent to “develop a long-term relationship that aligns with their mutual sectors.”
It spelled out the different areas of collaboration: economic and tourism thrust – explore the feasibility of expanding business ventures or business information-sharing as well as tourism exchange;
Health care – explore best practices in medicine to enhance tactics, techniques, and procedures;
Education – explore educational best practices and possible exchanges;
Social and cultural – explore best practices in heritage site preservation and annual event management to include major festivals in both cities;
Ecology and sustainability – to explore best practices in park management and environmental and sustainability issue; and
Military and emergency management – to explore best practices in humanitarian and disaster relief operations, to review emergency operations center standard operating procedures and to search for potential collaborative synergies between Joint Base San Antonio and Philippine Military Academy for the benefit of local communities.
The Baguio delegation arrived Oct. 18 and learned about the city’s health care, social services, solid waste, and other government functions.
The San Antonio mayor welcomed the delegation at the city council meeting on Oct. 20 where a proclamation recognizing Filipino History Month was presented. – Aileen P. Refuerzo