IN ANOTHER historic milestone for the legislators of the city the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the establishment of twinning/sisterhood ties between the city of Baguio and that of the Municipality of Bani in Pangasinan was finally sealed last Monday during a joint session conducted with the members of the Sangguniang Bayan in the said municipality.

As contained in the said MOA signed by local officials of both local government units, the municipality of Bani, Pangasinan expressed and affirmed its intention to enter into a sisterhood agreement with the City of Baguio thru SB Resolution No. 33-2013 unanimously adopted by the said august body in their regular session last October 7, 2013.

Likewise, realizing the mutual benefits to be gained by such a symbiotic relationship with another local government unit the city council of Baguio adopted Resolution Numbered 338, Series of 2013 entitled “Establishing a Twinning/Sisterhood ties between the City of Baguio and the Municipality of Bani, Pangasinan”. The MOA mentions further that considering the similarities to be found in both qualities and opportunities in terms of trade and commerce, and environment preservation endeavours involving both parties, a tie-up between the LGU’s concerned will pave the way for the exploration of innovative avenues through the sharing of technological, legislative, executive, administrative and economic developments unique to each party, that is focused on their mutual growth.

Under the said MOA and in consideration of the above the city of Baguio agrees to provide technical expertise and assistance in the promotion and development of the tourism industry of the municipality of Bani, Pangasinan, as well as in the exchange of culture and education through student exchange programs and/or educational tours. For its part the municipality of Bani, Pangasinan also agreed under the said MOA to provide information, knowledge and research on the promotion and development of the tourism industry of the city of Baguio, the enhancement of trade relations on agricultural products and livestock, as well as strengthen educational and cultural relations with the city of Baguio. Similarly both parties agreed to keep communication lines open for the possibility of forging joint ventures and to give the widest dissemination of the said sister-city/municipality relationship between local governments.

During the joint session of the SB of Bani, Pangasinan and the members of the City council of Baguio held at the Bani East Integrated School, Poblacion Bani, located about 50 meters away from the municipal hall, Mayor Gwen Palafox-Yamamoto welcomed the opportunity to establish closer ties with the city of Baguio citing that her municipality has much to offer in terms of commerce and tourism. She mentioned that her municipality can serve as a hub for the distribution of vegetable products coming from the city to the western part of Pangasinan citing its strategic location in the province.

She likewise said that Bani is exhaustively promoting its various tourism sites like its carefully preserved mangrove swamps, marine sanctuary and beautiful, natural caves found within the municipality.

Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Daniel T. Farinas, representing City mayor Mauricio Domogan as well as the city council being the presiding officer, cited the various opportunities made available to the municipality of Bani in the course of its sisterhood ties with the city of Baguio. He mentioned the fact that Baguio has always been noted as the center of premier education in the North and offered the invitation for Bani residents to obtain their education in the city. He also stressed that with the establishment of sisterhood ties Bani and the city of Baguio will be able to closely interact with each other in terms of trade and commerce which will be of great benefit to both parties.

Finally, the town of Bani which is situated in the westernmost part of the island of Luzon lies between two big bodies of water: Tambac bay on the northeast and the West Philippine sea on the west. It is also bounded by five towns of Pangasinan namely Bolinao on the North, Anda on the Northeast, Alaminos on the east, Mabini on the Southeast and Agno on the South. Its principal source of commerce is agriculture and boasts the claim of producing the sweetest watermelon in the archipelago.