The Bacolod City government has forged a sister-city relationship with Seogu Daeyu Metropolitan City, in South Korea, and the intention is based on culture, governance and international friendship, Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said yesterday.
Leonardia said he and the city officials have a very high regard for South Korea. “It is one of the most progressive countries in the world, and we hope to learn from them,” he said.
They have also taken note of the number of Korean students in Bacolod City, and hope that Bacolod will also become a prime destination in the area of Seogu, he said.
“A good relationship between Bacolod and Seogu, I hope will become an added incentive for Korean students to come to Bacolod. I think the influx of Korean students will continue,” Leonardia said.
That will also require them to give due accommodation, hospitality and security to these students, he said.
Butch Gerasmo of the City Tourism Office said there are more than 10,000 Koreans in Bacolod City today and they top the list of tourists arrivals in the city.
Leonardia said the presence of Korean students has a profound impact on the city's economy because, when they come to Bacolod, the schools, the boarding houses, restaurants, transportation and all aspects of tourism come into action.
“This is also in line with the city's claim that “A tourist is a friend,” he said, adding that they are embarking on a more intensive education information campaign so the city will be very friendly to tourists.
“In the end, we know the relationship is going to serve international diplomacy and also cultivate personal friendships which, we believe, can ultimately result to world peace,” Leonardia said.
Kang said, through his interpreter Amy Hee-Kyeong Cho, that they intend to sign a memorandum of understanding between Seogu, South Korea and Bacolod after getting the approval of the City Council. He said he believes they can build a great relationship with the city based on mutual trust.
Kang said he is strongly encouraging their students to come to Bacolod to study English and establish good relationships with students here.
Seogu is the third largest city in Korea and they are investing a lot in education, Kang said.
Leonardia thanked Kang for this great diplomatic effort to come all the way from Korea to Bacolod and for choosing the city among all the others cities to choose from.
He said this is a unique relationship because one of the main purposes is to encourage the home stay program and they hope to see a family-to family relationship develop which is more lasting.*CGS