With the promise to boost investment and tourism opportunities, among others, the provinces of Cebu and Fujian, China sealed its sister-province agreement in a ceremony at the Capitol Social Hall last Wednesday night.
Cebu Gov. Hilario P. Davide III and Fujian Gov. Tang Dengjie signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), sealing the Friendship Province relationship between Cebu and Fujian.
Gov. Tang arrived in Cebu on Wednesday morning with a delegation composed of other officials of the province, including the mayors of the cities of Nan’an, Putian, and Quanzhou.
On that same day, Mandaue City Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna signed a letter of mutual intent to establish friendship-city relationship together with Mayor Rongzhong Lin of Nan’an City. Danao City Mayor Ramonito Durano III signed likewise with Putian Mayor Li Jianhui.
Over the weekend, the Cebu delegation, led by Gov. Davide and First Lady Jobel Angan-Davide, went to China for the 20th China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT). They were welcomed in Fujian, where a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was also signed between the Cebu Provincial Government, through the Cebu Provincial Investment and Promotions Office (CPIPO), and the Fujian Provincial Government, for the Joint Promotion of the building of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road between the two provinces.
The MOU’s signatories were CPIPO head Floreza Duque-Alpuerto and Mr. Wang Tianming, director general of Fujian Foreign Affairs Office. Governors of both provinces stood as witnesses to the MOU signing.
During the welcome dinner at the Capitol last Wednesday, Gov. Davide expressed eagerness over the new ties with Fujian.
“I am pleased that we have finally formalized our sisterhood through this Signing Ceremony of the Agreement between Cebu Province and Fujian Province on the Establishment of Friendship Province Relationship. I am confident that this friendship will propel us forward into sharing knowledge and resources to further spur economic growth in our respective provinces,” he said.
“During our brief visit to Fujian Province from Friday last week until yesterday, we have discovered various opportunities for mutual cooperation in the areas of infrastructure development, trade and tourism, agriculture, and cultural exchanges. We wish to duplicate what we have witnessed as massive investment in building road networks in the cities and countryside,” Davide added.
Fujian Gov. Tang also believes the agreement of sister relations between Cebu and Fujian and the signing of the letters of intent between the cities will open a new chapter for both provinces.
“Since 2013, under the leadership of Gov. Davide, Cebu has made remarkable progress in various programs, improving infrastructure and industrial structure, and the wellbeing of the people. We believe that with our joint efforts, we will deliver tangible benefits to our people and make even larger progress,” Gov. Tang said.
Further, to truly implement the agreement that was signed, Tang hopes to strengthen people-to-people relations between the two provinces by offering scholarships to 10 young officials or students from Cebu for bachelor’s degrees in Fujian universities to further promote people-to-people exchanges and pragmatic cooperation.
“The people-to-people exchanges is the most important part of our relations, we will give greater support to such mutual exchanges. We will encourage even greater cooperation in our business and communities to truly encourage our friendship,” added Gov Tang.
Prior to the MOA signing and welcome dinner, a Leaders Meeting took place at the Dignitaries Hall, where both governors gave their respective short messages before the symbolic exchange gifts with each other.
The officials then proceeded to the social hall where they were entertained with variety of performances, including a medley of dance festivals showing the expansion of Cebuano culture from the Hispanic times to the Chinese.
Provincial Board Member Jude Thaddeus Sybico formally opened the program, giving an insight on Cebu’s rich culture that includes the Chinese influence.
Vice Gov. Agnes A. Magpale, for her closing remarks, hoped that the Fujian delegation was able to grasp the rich culture of Cebu through the presentations.
“I just want you to know, what unfolded before you tonight are not just songs and dances. That’s the story of Cebu. From a mere trading post 449 years ago, visited by your compatriots, what Cebu is now is one big Chinatown. We want you to bring home to Fujian Province beautiful memories of Cebu,” said Magpale.
Other officials present last night were Provincial Board Members Horacio Franco III, Christopher Baricuatro and Raul Bacaltos; Capitol Department heads; as well as officers and members of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Cebuano Chinese community, led by Ambassador Francisco Benedicto and Consul Antonio Chiu.
The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry also signed sisterhood ties with Xiamen International Chamber of Commerce in Fujian.