Bacolod must continue to promote strong ties with South Korea as it pursues its position as one of the major cities of the Philippines, Bacolod Rep. Evelio Leonardia said yesterday.
South Korea is a major trade and investment partner of the country, Leonardia said, and Bacolod has been a major beneficiary of this relationship, citing the influx of Koreans, especially students, who continue to visit and stay in the city, a press release from his office said.
Leonardia was invited to join the Korean National Day and Armed Forces Day celebration at a reception on Thursday, to be tendered by Ambassador and Mrs. Lee Hyuk in their Forbes Park residence in Makati.
Leonardia said it is an opportune time to emphasize Bacolod’s ties with Korea. He recalled that during his incumbency as mayor, the Korean population in the city grew, and the city forged a sisterhood pact with the Korean city of Andong.
In 2006, our MassKara Festival was among the world festivals featured in Andong’s own mask festival when Leonardia led a delegation from the city, that included MassKara dancers who performed there, the press release said.
He also said the city is now preparing to receive 17 charter flights direct from Korea, which is going to be a major tourism boost. It could be the beginning of something really big for our tourism, he said, adding that he is happy the Koreans are the first ones who are coming on direct flights to the city.
Leonardia, a member of the Congressional Committee on Inter-parliamentary Relations and Diplomacy, said he will continue to strengthen and pursue linkages with foreign cities, especially those in Asia, because globalization has made it necessary to keep Bacolod on the map. With globalization, when all countries and cities of the world vie for a share of the global trade and tourism pie, we must make sure Bacolod is not left behind, he said.
Last year alone, more than a million South Koreans visited the country and if we could get just 10 percent of them to also visit Bacolod, that is going to help us tremendously, Leonardia added.*