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Manila ties up with Chongqing, biggest city proper in the world

Manila ties up with Chongqing
(seated, middle) Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna welcomed a delegation from Chongqing, China with (from left) City Administrator Bernie Ang and Vice Mayor Yul Servo. Beside the mayor is Madam Lu Hong, standing member of the CPC Chongqing Committee and chief of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Chongqing Committee, who led the foreign delegation that paid her a courtesy visit in City Hall. Also in photo are (left, standing) Manila-China Cultural Affairs Office (MCCAO) officers Owen So and (4th from left) Jenny Wang, (6th and 7th from left), Manila’s Ambassadress of Goodwill to China Chang Lai Fong and Manila Chinatown Development Council (MCDC) executive director Willord Chua. Not in photo is tourism department chief Charlie Dungo. (JERRY S. TAN)

Mayor Honey Lacuna is highly amenable to reviving the sister-city relationship between the city of Manila and the municipality of Chongqing in China, touted to be the biggest city proper in the whole world.

Lacuna, along with City Administrator Bernie Ang, formally welcomed the delegation from Chongqing, headed by Madam Lu Hong, standing member of the CPC Chongqing Committee and chief of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Chongqing Committee, as they paid the lady mayor a courtesy visit in her office at the Manila City Hall. Also present were Manila’s department of tourism chief Charlie Dungo, Manila Chinatown Development Council (MCDC) executive director Willord Chua, Manila’s Ambassadress of Goodwill to China Chang Lai Fong and Manila-China Cultural Affairs Office (MCCAO) officers Jenny Wang and Owen So.

Through her interpreter, Madam Lu expressed her interest in restoring the ‘friendship ties’ that were established way back in 2011and even expand such ties to a sister-city relationship where exchanges in many aspects of governance may be done.

Lacuna and Madam Lu exchanged information about the strengths of their respective cities and what they can offer, with the end in view of establishing deeper ties with each other.

Madam Lu expressed her admiration for Lacuna and her leadership style, saying she can greatly relate to her since she, too, was a former mayor in her country before she got appointed to her present post.

She went on to praise Lacuna’s performance and the programs she had set out for most needy sectors, even as Madam Lu also made special mention of Manila’s provision of allowances for its senior citizens and students.

The mayor was pleasantly surprised that Madam Lu was fully aware of everything she had been doing as mayor for the past year, saying Madam Lu had apparently done her homework.

“Chongqing is very close to the hearts of Manilans..we have been facing the same challenges on urbanization and we want to learn more from you…we are thankful that you are here to visit us because this will open the windows of opportunities for our city. When you go back to your place, please tell them the good news that the city of Manila is a city that recognizes you not only as a partner but as a true friend of our beloved city,” Lacuna said.

Madam Lu, for her part, said that while ties were established with Manila in 2011, it was not explored to the fullest so that she would want to now strengthen the partnership of their respective cities, to which Lacuna responded by assuring her that she wants the same.

The mayor’s assurance was echoed by City Administrator Ang, who said that the city of Manila has shown the importance of its ties with China by establishing the MCDC, the MCCAO and even appointing an Ambassadress of Goodwill to China.

The two women leaders exchanged souvenir items and formally agreed to formulate a sister-city agreement that will be in keeping with the times and which will foster cultural, economic, educational and trade exchanges, among others, between the two cities.

Chongqing is one of the four municipalities under the direct administration of the central government of the People’s Republic of China, the other three being Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin. It is said to be the size of Austria, with a permanent population of 30 million.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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