Davao eyes sister city pact with Seoul

Davao City Hall. June 2017 photo from the City Government of Davao FB page

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/29 May) – The city government is planning to forge a sister city agreement with Seoul, the capital city and the largest metropolis of South Korea, to establish cultural and trade ties between the two cities.

Christian Cambaya, investor assistance and servicing unit head at Davao Investment Promotions Center (DCIPC), told Wednesdays’ Habi at Kape that the plan came after the successful visit of delegates from Davao’s private and public sectors from May 21 to 23.

He said the International Relations Board of the city government would discuss the plan.

“Seoul is looking at seriously to execute a sister city agreement with any cities in the Philippines. It’s looking at Manila and Cebu, but we were told by our Philippine Embassy in South Korea, ‘why don’t you initiate?’” he said.

Cambaya said it would benefit the city if Seoul would become a sister city as it wants to attract more Korean investors to locate here to increase trade and investment activities.

Davao has existing friendship city agreements with Uijeongbu and Incheon in South Korea.

The city’s 11 domestic sister cities are Baguio, Manila, Quezon City, Cebu City, Bayugan, Cotabato, Zamboanga City, Legazpi in Albay, Bacoor in Cavite, San Juan in Metro Manila, and Marikina.

Its foreign sister cities include Jinjiang in Fujian and Nanning in China, Manado and Pekanbaru in Indonesia, Koror in Palau, Montevideo in Uruguay, Panama City in Panama, Vladivostok in Russia, Keelung in Taiwan, and Kauai Country in Hawaii, and Tacoma in Washington in the United States.

Cambaya said the local government and business community are also hoping that a direct flight between Davao City and Incheon would be established to boost trade and investment and tourism activities here.

He said South Koreans going to Davao would only average 8,000 annually compared to around 100,000 others going to Manila and Cebu.

In a press release issued by the City Information Office, DCIPC chief Lemuel Ortonio said over 50 Korean businessmen joined the Davao City Business Forum at the Philippine Embassy in Seoul, which highlighted investment opportunities in the city’s agriculture, tourism and ICT sectors.

He said participants had expressed interest in cacao beans and nibs  from Davao, seaweeds trading, and pet bottle recycling machines.

He said the delegation had also organized a product presentation to Korean tour operators.

Cambaya said the delegates had engaged Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the largest business organization with an estimated 180,000 members, and visited the Seoul Food Expo and the Kintex International Convention Center. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)