GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 8 Oct) – The cities of Koronadal and Iloilo have forged a sisterhood agreement in a bid to strengthen and further deepen the cultural and historical ties of the two areas.
Koronadal City Mayor Peter Miguel and Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog led the signing of the sisterhood pact on Wednesday morning that coincided with the 14th charter anniversary celebration and 4th Negosyo Festival of Koronadal City.
The two officials signed the agreement amid cheers from thousands of local residents who gathered at the Rizal Park in Koronadal City for the city’s charter day celebration.
“This is very significant and historic for us since we always considered Iloilo as our mother city,” Miguel said in his speech during the signing ceremony.
Majority of Koronadal’s residents or roughly 60 percent as estimated by city officials trace their roots to settlers from Western Visayas, specifically Iloilo City and Iloilo province.
The local dialect in the city and the neighboring areas is Ilonggo or Hiligaynon as influenced by the early settlers.
Miguel said Koronadal City will gain much from the sisterhood with Iloilo City, which he considers as a model for the city’s development.
He expects that the exchanges and cooperation provided for in the agreement will help the city in its pursuit to “greater heights.”
With the forging of the sisterhood agreement, Miguel said the city is “now complete.”
“We know where we came from, we know what we’re doing here and we know where we’re going,” the mayor said.
For his part, Mabilog expressed confidence that the sisterhood agreement will be productive and fruitful for both cities.
“Ilonggos and Koronadalenos share many things in common. We share a common mother tongue – Hiligaynon – and cultural heritage as influences by your pioneer settlers from Iloilo,” he said.
Mabilog said the agreement will be about Koronadal and Iloilo cities “sharing a common desire to promote and foster strong and closer ties, mutual understanding, friendship and goodwill.”
He said the partnership between the two cities will not end with the signing of the sisterhood agreement.
He said they will make sure that active and closer collaborations would ensue for the common good of both cities.
Mabilog said they could share experiences, set cooperation and exchanges in terms of local governance, economic development, culture and arts, planning, tourism, trade and commerce, education, environmental protection, public health and social services.
As part of the initial exchanges, he formally invited city officials and its Hinugyaw cultural group to participate in Iloilo City’s Kasadyahan and Dinagyang Festival in the last week of January.
He said Iloilo City will shoulder the airfare and accommodation of the visiting participants from the city.
The signing of the sisterhood agreement was based on Resolutions 162 and 645 that were passed last month by the city councils of Koronadal City and Iloilo City, respectively.
As part of the agreement, the two cities agreed to create a “sisterhood team,” which will mainly lead the cooperation and exchanges in line with the accord.
The team will include “representatives from both cities, who will meet periodically to identify fields of common interest and propose plans and initiatives to advance the objectives of the agreement.”