Sister City relations of Olongapo City and National City proclaimed
By Doris Enriquez-Malabad
NATIONAL CITY, California - It is now official - Philippines' Olongapo City and California's National City have just been proclaimed Sister Cities.
The proclamation rites, held on October 25 at the Martin Luther King Community Center, were spearheaded by the Olongapo City Association of San Diego with the cooperation of the City of National City. Olongapoenos and Zambalenos filled the Center, along with the delegation from the Philippines, National City officials and Filipino-American community leaders.
National City Mayor Nick Inszunza once again endeared himself to the Fil-American community by speaking in their native language, Tagalog, where he said lahat tayo ay magkakapatid, we are new relatives - refering to the new sister city relationship between the two cities.
Mayor Nick Inzunza awknowledged the importance of the City of Olongapo and Zambales.
Asked on what he feels now that he is already a "part" of Olongapo, he quipped, "It feels great! For many years, I have always been an Olongapo "wannabe," and now it is already official. It really feels great."
Olongapo City Mayor Bong Gordon for his part, thanked Mayor Nick; Vice Mayor Ron Morrison, council members Louie Natividad, Rosalie Zarate and Frank Parra; City officials led by City Manager Chris Zapata, Asst. City Manager Lin Wurbs and Public Information Officer Maria Arcega-Dunn, for being instrumental in the considetation and passage of the sisterhood proposal.
Mayor Bong stated, "With this formal Sister City ties that we now have, I look forward to enhanced relations and exchange of culture, services and projects that will benefit both cities and their residents, and possibly exchange of visits in the future."
"it is inspiring to know that there is a sizeable number of Filipinos in National City. It is even heartwarming to see that Filipino values and culture are retained by the Filipinos who came here which make them good citizens of National City and the U.S. Indeed, we are the right sister cities, " he continued.
Olongapo City Association President Connie Leyva led this sister-cities project two years ago. It was not easy, she averred, but she continued the liaison works and maintained the communication lines open between the two cities. The rest is history, so to speak. On September 20, Ms. Leyva was informed that the proposal was at the Council's agenda. And so she went, and on behalf of the association and Olongapo City, she supported and defended the proposal. On that day, the Council unanimously voted for the passage of teh sister-city relations resolution between National City and Olongapo City.
Eric erikson also assisted in the this endeavor.
Mayor Bong gordon awarded Mayor Nick with an "Ulo Ng Apo" trophy and gave tokens of appreciation to each Council Member - a replica of Filipino Jeepney.
The twin city relations of Olongapo, Philippines and National City, California was forged on October 25 during its formal proclamation held at the Martin Luther King Cummunity Center. Photo shows NC Mayor Nick Inzunza and Olongapo Mayor Bong gordon (4th & 5th from left), with their officials and Fil-Am community leaders. (Photo by D. Malabad)