African Ambassador visits Laoag City

LAOAG CITY, April 14 – City government officials warmly welcomed South Africa Ambassador to the Philippines Martin Slabber during his first visit to Ilocos Norte on Monday.

Slabber arrived in the province early Monday morning and paid a courtesy call on Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos before he headed to the Laoag City hall.

In his speech during the welcome program, Slabber said his visit seeks to discuss economic and developmental issues with city and provicial leaders.

He cited a possible sisterhood relationship with Ilocos Norte noting the similarities in the agriculture landscape of the province and Africa.

Slabber said he finds the country not different from his own home.

Africa is known for gold and diamond mining as well as corn production which the Philippines are importing in the same manner that Africa imports tobacco from the Philippines.

City administrator Perry Martinez, who led the welcome committee, said that the two countries may help each other in the agriculture sector through an exchange program with the Ilocano students.

During the open forum, Martinez also highlighted that the province is rich in agricultural production and that the city is a multi-awardee in producing rice and corn.

Slabber said in his talk that in order to improve peoples’ lives, focus must be given on people.

“We should not only focus on our relationship with the national government, we must go beyond it for improvement,” he said. (MCA/CJDG/JM, PIA1-Ilocos Norte, OJT)