Ilocos Norte Governor Imee R. Marcos and Shandong Vice Governor Wang Junmin signed the Action Plan for Friendly Cooperation between the two provinces on April 3, ensuring continuity of partnership for developmental growth.
Shandong is a province on the west coast of China, known for being a top food producer, and an industry leader in food, equipment, and renewable energy, among others. Since 2002, they have shared sister-hood relations with Ilocos Norte.
Vice Governor Wang led a delegation of 32 provincial officials and business owners to Ilocos Norte on April 2-3 to discuss agricultural practices and chances for investment.
The action plan, signed and presented at a press conference, “is formulated to deepen cooperation and to strengthen exchanges and communication between Ilocos Norte and Shandong Province.
“Key areas include industrial, economic and trade, an agricultural development; mutual promotion of tourism resources; promotion of research institutes to establish and enhance maritime technology and professional training, and enhancement to the people’s livelihood through education and personnel training and cultural exchanges.”
Vice Governor Wang said that “this cooperation is a new chapter towards a fruitful development. It is a solid reformation of our strong ties marked throughout the years. The friendship between the People’s Republic of China and the people of the Philippines has been a part of history.”
Likewise, Governor Marcos said that the province “is grateful for the opportunity to establish an action plan. Indeed, it is a time for ‘double action’ with our sister province, Shandong, in initiating measures and exchanges to develop livelihoods and the agriculture industry.”
At the same press conference, Vice Governor Wang presented a donation of three rice milling machines worth Php 1.5 million, each with a capacity to process one ton of rice per hour. He presented a letter of intent to the Governor.
Shandong delegates saw the need for said machines when they visited the Chinese Rice Hybrid Plantation in the Municipality of San Nicolas, which they lauded for the volume of rice production but in which they noticed a lack of industrial processing.
A match-making conference on business and agriculture between delegates and Ilocano counterparts preceded the signing and exchange of official documents. This served as a platform for discussion, deals, and investment among the Chinese business owners and managers and their local counterparts in the areas of fertilizers and pesticides, water treatment in poultry and livestock, food processing, e-commerce, food machineries and agri-tourism.
Vice Governor Wang announced additional deals made among the Chinese delegates and local counterparts in the areas of tourism, including an order of 2,000 boxes of mangoes from the country’s “Mango King,” Ricardo “Carding” Tolentino.
These exchanges and cooperation show “that Philippine relations with China are moving on the right track. The two provinces could work together for win-win results in the future,” said the Head of the Chinese Consulate in Ilocos Norte, Mme. Wang Jianqun.
Meanwhile Governor Marcos said, “We are happy to share our expertise in agriculture, particularly in tropical fruits such as mango, dragon fruit, and coconuts; as well as in the field of tourism and service industry.” (Mizpah Grace G. Castro and Ma. Christian A. Ramos, PGIN-CMO)