Climaco underscores CAEXPO as venue to strengthen city-to-city ties PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 22 September 2015 11:35

by Sheila Covarrubias

Nanning, China—Zamboanga City’s participation in the 12th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) is expected to reap positive developments for the city in various aspects given the event’s primary mission to strengthen cooperation between cities in China and ASEAN countries, according to Mayor Beng Climaco.

Leading the promotional campaign of Zamboanga as the Philippines’ City of Charm in this year’s CAEXPO, Climaco said the four-day event is a grand opportunity for the different cities specifically Zamboanga to introduce to the world its unique and diversified culture and vigorous trade, tourism and investment potentials.

Climaco together with Zamboanga Economic Zone and Freeport Authority Chair Christopher Lawrence Arnuco made presentations during the series of promotional and business conferences and networking activities here about the city’s potentials as well as cited the areas where it needs support in line with the CAEXPO’s theme of “21st Century Maritime Silkroad”. Councilors BG Guingona, VP Elago, Luis Biel III and Kim Elago, some city department heads and the representatives from the Zamboanga Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Los Contratistas and various small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to include regional directors Maryjune Bugante of the Department of Tourism and Sisinio Cano of the Department of Labor including the Engr. Rolando Acuna of the DTI Provincial Office provided strong support to the city’s promotional campaign.

Among the business conferences and networking activities that Zamboanga actively participated were the 12th CAEXPO Business Networking last Sept. 17, the 12th CAEXPO Promotion Conference on ASEAN Industrial Parks last Sept. 18 and the Philippine Promotion Conference last Sept. 19 which were all followed by business matching activities.

In an interview with international reporters here, Climaco said the 2013 siege in Zamboanga and the boundary dispute in the West Philippine sea should not hinder cooperation among cities in all fields including people-to-people exchanges.

“We must never allow these challenges get in the way of our ties and exchanges with other countries and this has been cemented here in my visit to China. We are here to extend our hands of friendship to our brothers and sisters in China and ASEAN and to show that the Philippines is one in the commitment towards mutual understanding and friendship, consolidate and develop friendly cooperation relationship,” the mayor stressed.

The opportunity for people-to-people exchanges is what she learned most citing the initial steps towards the establishment of sisterhood ties with the cities of Zoushan and Guigang in China, according to Climaco. “We were sanctioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs to engage in sisterhood ties with China cities and we will always abide by the diplomatic policies of the government.”

In the Philippine pavilion at the exhibition site in the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Center (NICEC) here in Nanning, China, Zamboanga City’s rich and colorful history and culture through the display of songs and dances and the Fort Pilar shrine as the huge backdrop and the show of various tourist sites are prominently featured.

At the commodity trade, Zamboanga’s Sotto delicacies, Universal Canning Corporation, EJT Products and various other commodities were among the best of the best products rolled out in the Philippine booth.

Standing out from the other trade fairs, the CAEXPO bears the missions of consolidating the friendly relationships between China and ASEAN, accelerating the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) construction and promoting the cooperation between both sides in various fields.

The yearly event, organized by the People’s Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the CAEXPO this year features over 4,000 booths from all and is covered by over 2,100 journalists from all over China and ASEAN. — Sheila Covarrubias