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A delegation from Manila led by (seated) Manila City Administrator Bernardito 'Bernie' Ang poses with (fourth from right) Philippine Ambassador to China Jaime Florcruz for a posterity shot. In photo are (from right) Universidad de Manila (UDM) Director for Quality Assurance, Accreditation, Compliance and Linkages Dr. Rejan L. Tadeo, Manila Chinatown Development Council Executive Director Willord Chua, Mrs. Esther Ang, Universidad de Manila (UDM) President Dr. Felma Carlos-Tria , UdM Director for Information and Communications Technology Emmanuel Gatdula, Manila City Hall Reporters' Association (MACHRA) President Itchie Cabayan and Mr. Alex Ang. (JERRY S. TAN)

AMBASSADOR FLORCRUZ LAUDS MANILA CITY ADMINISTRATOR ANG FOR EFFORTS TO KEEP FRIENDLY RELATIONS WITH SISTER-CITIES

By: Jerry S. Tan

PHILIPPINE Ambassador to China Jaime Florcruz commended the initiatives of the Manila city government in maintaining close and friendly relations with its sister-cities in China.

Philippine Ambassador to China Jaime Florcruz with Manila City Administrator Bernardito ‘Bernie’ Ang after their meeting at the Philippine Embassy in Beijing. (JERRY S. TAN)

Amb. Florcruz expressed the gratitude during a courtesy visit made to the Philippine Embassy in Beijing by the Manila delegation headed by City Administrator (CA) Bernardito “Bernie” Ang, who expressed the positive response of the Manila local government headed by Mayor Honey Lacuna, in the interest of certain cities in China to revive their sister-city relationship with the Philippines’ capital city. Joining CA Ang were 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, Director for Information and Communications Technology Emmanuel Gatdula and Manila City Hall Reporters’ Association (MACHRA) President Itchie G. Cabayan, among others.

CA 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.

Ang said foreign governments have expressed interest in Manila because of the positive developments taking place in the city under the Lacuna administration.

He also told Florcruz that the resumption of sister-city agreements with Manila local government unit (LGU) stems from the fact that Guangzhou, for instance, is the first sister-city that Manila had.

According to CA Ang, no less than the influential and revered 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.

Ang also noted that the 47-year-anniversary of the relationhip between Manila and Guangzhou will be in November, adding that while the relationship contained in a formal accord 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 #hilippines 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.

For his part, Florcruz said: “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 said 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 also commended the introduction of E-Visa which he said will make it easier for China applicants to go to the Philippines and ensuring the saftey and security of the system, stopping the illegitimate and making it easier for legitimate ones to get visas sooner.

Florcruz also 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.

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