Sister cities

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By May Anne Cacdac

The Iron Maiden

Thursday, April 10, 2014


MY ENCOUNTERS with his sister, Pia, were all more than pleasant.

And so when it was time to meet him, I expected nothing less from Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.

Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club president Frank Cimatu tagged the Senator as “my lucky charm.” Sen. Cayetano and Frank first met during the senator’s dialogue with the pony boys association, beneficiary of a P150,000 microfinancing grant from Cayetano.

On the same day was the election of the BCBC. That night, we had the honor of being joined by the Senator for a late dinner where he discussed his programs, trips and vision for the country. He was very candid when asked if he wants to run for the presidency to which he replied, “I don’t want to run. I want to win.”

This as he said running for VP is not option stressing much more can be done when he is president.

Our second encounter with Sen. Alan was last Friday when he inducted us as officers of the BCBC. This time the Senator was able to stay with us longer and shared a glass of wine with our Uncles Mon Dacawi and March Fianza and we were later joined by Benguet Rep. Ronald Cosalan.

Uncle Mondax described him as “a sober alternative” after the Senator’s iteration of his political intent. “Thank you, manong,” answered Sen. Alan.

The views of Sen. Alan on a lot of issues are sober, indeed. Practical and well-researched, he answered questions ranging from the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement to the very timely Cordillera Autonomy.

But what got the wheels in this Maiden’s mind turning was his view on sisterhood cities.

The sisterhood city program is good “kung hindi nauunahan ng pulitika.”

Not to generalize but yes the sisterhood city program has become a venue for “visa fishing” for several government workers. And I am not just talking about the city.

While we enjoy donations from our sister cities, residents have yet to hear of a concrete exchange program between us and these selected “kin”.

“Sisterhood programs must open avenues by which the two cities can thrive economically and technologically,” Sen. Cayetano stressed.

He said local officials must find a market in these sister cities where we can sell our products.

This makes sense. Whenever we want to sell a product, don’t we start with the people we know, people we trust?

While I don’t enough information on the ongoing programs or projects with Baguio’s sister cities, suffice to say, we wish for programs on education, technology, environment and tourism to be fostered between us.

Officials doing these visits harp on best practices, especially on solid waste management and the environment and yet we are still wanting or even severely lacking in these areas.

Also it is always stressed that extra members of our official delegation pay for their own expenses. Well, that’s good. Dapat lang.
But here’s the thing.

Not just projects.

But programs to benefit residents.

These are what we want from our sisterhood cities and these are what we must offer them in return.

Not Facebook photos.

Definitely not Facebook photos.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 11, 2014.

Opinion

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