GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 16 Aug) – The city government is eyeing various exchanges with Jersey City in the United States following the forging of a sisterhood agreement between the two cities.
Officials of the two highly-urbanized cities formally signed on Tuesday, Aug. 14 (Aug. 15, Philippine time) a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to establish their relations and cooperation in a ceremony held at the city hall of Jersey City.
The MOA was signed by Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and GenSan Vice Mayor Shirlyn Banas-Nograles, who represented Mayor Ronnel Rivera.
“DONE DEAL! Sisterhood agreement between Jersey City and General Santos City signed and sealed,” announced Leonard Flores, head of the City Economic Management and Cooperative Development Office, in a Facebook post.
Nograles and Flores are part of the city’s delegation that is currently on a trade and tourism mission in the United States.
Under the agreement, the two cities agreed to “make efforts to promote goodwill on both sides, develop a friendly relationship through exchange in the fields of education, culture, heritage, the arts, tourism, agriculture, information technology and economics, in hopes that their partnership will promote internal peace and security.”
As provided for in the MOA, Flores said they are looking forward to exchanges of public and private associations; school students, teachers, workers, correspondence, and sports; and cultural, heritage and art through the promotion of natural tourism.
On trade and commerce, he said they expect engagements on the promotion of each city’s assets, with the assistance of the private sector, and exchange of technology relating to investment promotion, agricultural production, trade, digitization and environmental preservation.
He said they would promote exchanges on community social development and civic involvement as well as on computer technology, local government administration, revenue generation, resources management and other innovative programs and projects.
Flores said they also expect “cross visits of government officials, employees and private organizations to learn about effective governance and efficient public service.”
Nograles, who heads the city’s delegation, called the signing of the sisterhood agreement with Jersey City as “historic.”
The sisterhood agreement was forged following negotiations facilitated by City Tourism Officer Cora Tito and Jersey City resident Darlene Dilangalen Borromeo, who originally hails from the city.
Jersey is the city’s first sister city in the US. It has existing sisterhood agreements with Hadano City in Japan, Katherine town in Australia, Manado and Gorontalo in Indonesia and Shantou in China.
As part of the trade and tourism mission, Nograles said they brought along at least 22 products from 11 home-grown companies.
“This is to help local businesses establish markets in Jersey City and nearby cities in the US,” she said.
She said the featured products were all sold out after just half a day of exhibit last weekend, with tuna chicharon coming out as the bestseller.
The vice mayor said the proceeds of the trade exhibit will go to the Dalsaka Foundation to help support the weaving industry of the city’s indigenous peoples.
The delegation also joined the first Socsksargen USA Convention and co-organized the “Arise Mindanao Fashion Show” that showcased traditional textile-based creations of local fashion designer Jun Ador. (MindaNews)