THE efforts of the Manila city government, particularly City Administrator (CA) Bernardito “Bernie” Ang, earned praises from Philippine Ambassador to China Jaime Florcruz who lauded him for helping maintain close and friendly relations with its sister-cities in China and helping revive dormant agreements to that effect.
“I am very happy you are doing what you have been doing because for us, it’s worth…it is the strongest bond that we can have not only with our counterparts but also as countries and peoples because we don’t want just signing MOUs (memorandums of understanding) tapos walang nangyari so it’s really up to groups like yours to make things happen and I hope more Filipinos will be aware of what you are doing…what we are doing,” Florcruz told Ang.
Ang headed a delegation from Manila in a courtesy visit to Florcruz at the Philippine Embassy in Beijing, where the city administrator was accompanied, among others, by Manila Chinatown Development Council Executive Director Willord Chua, Universidad de Manila (UDM) President Dr. Felma Carlos-Tria, UdM Director for Quality Assurance, Accreditation, Compliance and Linkages Dr. Rejan L. Tadeo and Director for Information and Communications Technology Emmanuel Gatdula and Manila City Hall Reporters’ Association (MACHRA) President Itchie G. Cabayan.
In his meeting with Florcruz, Ang said that many cities in China have been expressing their interest to either revive or ink a new sister-city relationship with Manila, citing how impressed they are over the way the city is being run by its first lady Mayor, Honey Lacuna.
According to Ang, the local government of Manila under Lacuna, takes this in a positive note and had been reciprocating the show of interest by the said various cities from China.
Ang told Florcruz that almost every month, secretary-generals of provinces in China get in touch with the Manila city government for the re-establishment of sister-city ties as in fact, the local government already made it possible with the provinces of Fuzhou, Chongqing and Guangzhou, with a number more in the works, with said foreign governments making known their interest in Manila because of the positive developments taking place in the city under the Lacuna administration.
The City Administrator also told Florcruz that the resumption of sister-city agreements with Manila local government unit stems from the fact that Guangzhou, for instance, is the first sister-city that Manila had.
Ang recounted that no less than the influential and revered China leader, Chairman Mao Ze Dong, told then First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, wife of the late President Ferdinand Marcos and mother of current Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., that he wants Manila to be the sister-city of Guangzhou.
He also noted that the 47-year-anniversary of the relationship between Manila and Guangzhou will be in November, adding that while contained in a formal accord that was signed in 1982, the relationship between the two cities actually begun in 1975, during the visit made by First Lady Imelda Marcos to China.
At this point, Ang told Florcruz that Marshall Louis Alferez, consul-general of the Philippines in Guangzhou, is doing a very good job. Alferez was on hand to welcome the Manila delegation during a visit made in Guangzhou months ago.
Ang said the Manila-LGU is very happy that Beijing had written to say it wants an accord with Manila and the city is just as thrilled about pushing through with it.
Florcruz for his part, said that more initiatives are needed in terms of tangible development to our country, along with a clear message to China that they can enter to invest in the Philippines and help create jobs. He cited the revenues that may be derived from good investments that the country will get from China and the need to promote friendship to boost economic cooperation, stresing that all things can be resolved with diplomacy and continued talks.
Too, Florcruz said the introduction of E-Visa will make it easier for China applicants to go to the Philippines and ensurie the saftey and security of the system, stopping the ‘illegitimate’ and making it easier for legitimate ones to get visas sooner.