Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Olongapo Sister-city with Guam gathers support

Guam-Olongapo Sister City Plan Gets Hearing

Written by Stefan Sebastian - www.pacificnewscenter.com

Guam-- Sen. Eddie Baza Calvo hosted a public hearing today on his resolution to designate Olongapo, in the Philippines, as a sister city of Guam.

At the hearing, Calvo said Guam and Olongapo have much in common and the sister city relationship would open new doors for tourism and business investment.

“If you look at Zambales and compare it to Guam, we really have a lot of similarities,” Calvo said. “There’s ways Guam can benefit with the usage of talent from the region. “In about eight years, Guam’s economy of military construction will have to move toward another direction. There’s going to have to be something to replace it. We have to look at the long term with a mutually beneficial relationship with Olongapo. They found a way and, with the help of this partnership, we can too.”

Calvo heard testimony on the resolution from the Zambales Family Association of Guam, the Filipino-American Presidents, the Filipino Community of Guam and Philippine Consul General Olivia Palala .

“The Philippine Consulate General believes that friendly and cooperative exchanges to promote culture, tourism and workforce development, as mentioned in your proposed Resolution’s draft agreement, will certainly work for the advancement of the interests of both Guam and Olongapo City,” Consul General Olivia Palala wrote.

If the resolution passes, the legislature will adopt a memorandum establishing the sister city relationship, which would then be need the signatures of Olongapo City Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. and Speaker Judi Won Pat.

Sister-city proposal gathers support


The Guam Visitors Bureau and the Filipino community on Guam today spoke in support of a proposal to establish a sister-city agreement between the island and the Philippine city of Olongapo, which once hosted the U.S. military.

Sen. Eddie Baza Calvo, who introduced Resolution No. 60, held a public hearing on the proposal today.

He heard testimony from leaders from the Zambales Family Association of Guam and members of the Filipino Community of Guam. The Philippine consul general to Guam, a past president of the FCG and GVB also submitted written testimony favoring passage of the resolution.

Philippine Consul General Olivia Palala in her testimony said Guam and Olongapo will mutually benefit from an official relationship, in light of the planned military buildup on the island.

"Aside from being home to the naval base, Olongapo City was likewise a reliable source of skilled workers needed for the Subic Naval Base operations," Palala wrote.

GVB General Manager Gerry Perez said a sister-city relationship can improve tourism.

“We foresee increased travel between Guam and Olongapo with friends and relatives as well as developing business relationships between the two communities,” Perez wrote. “We believe this resolution to establish a sister-city relationship will be mutually fruitful and expect benefits to increase over time for the people of Guam and Olongapo, Philippines.”

If the resolution passes, the Guam Legislature will adopt a Memorandum on Strengthening Exchange and Cooperation, which would be signed by Olongapo City Mayor James “Bong” Gordon Jr. and legislative Speaker Judi Won Pat.

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