The Valenzuela City local government is considering forging a sisterhood agreement with the South Korean city of Suwon, in hopes of learning governance ‘best practices’.
Thirteen members of the Suwon City Council on Tuesday, February 18, visited Valenzuela City, the last city in their four-day, four-city goodwill trip in the country sponsored by the Metro Manila Philippine Councilors League (MMPCL).
This is the Suwon City officials’ second time in Valenzuela City, the first being in September 2012.
In a reception at the Valenzuela City Government Complex, Suwon City Council Chairman Young Kwan Noh proposed a sisterhood between Suwon and Valenzuela.
Speaking with a translator, Noh said South Korea and Philippines’ shared history − being countries both colonized by Japan during the Pacific War in the 1940’s and the Philippine’s involvement in the Korean War in the 1950’s – would make the relationship between the two cities easy.
Noh also invited City Mayor REX Gatchalian and Vice Mayor to Suwon City.
The capital of the Gyeonggi-do, the South Korean province with the largest population, Suwon City has a population of 1.2 million, twice that of Valenzuela City.
The city is famous for the Hwaseong Fortress, built in the 18th century and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Consumer electronics giant Samsung has its headquarters in Suwon.
City Mayor REX Gatchalian said the local government will look into the proposal, adding that such relationship will be beneficial to both cities.
“The challenge for Valenzuela City now is to compete not only with other Philippine cities but with the rest of world as well,” Mayor REX said, in an interview at the sidelines. “International ties such as with Suwon City will definitely go a long way in helping us stand at par with the world.”
Valenzuela City and Suwon would have to sign a memorandum of agreement to formally recognize the partnership.
As sister cities, they would agree to support in the development of each local government, such as through adaptation of policies.
City Councilor and MMPCL President Lorie Natividad-Borja said she is confident the sisterhood between the two cities would push through.
“All lasting businesses are built in friendship,” Councilor Borja said.
Along with Councilor Borja, City Councilors Jennifer Pingree Esplana, Kimberly Galang, and Lailanie Nolasco had visited Suwon City in October 2013.
Since 2008, Valenzuela City has had sisterhood agreements with 39 cities, including Bucheon City in South Korea.
The Korean delegation arrived in the country on February 16, visiting the cities of Makati, Tagaytay, Manila and Valenzuela.
The Suwon City officials also donated 2,000 sets of children’s sports clothes and $ 1,125USD worth of cash for Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda survivors through the MMPCL.