China province, Ilocos Norte ink action plan for friendly cooperation

LAOAG CITY -— Paving the way to a friendly and stronger cooperation between the provinces of Shandong, an economic powerhouse of China, and the booming business district of Ilocos Norte, an action plan was formulated and signed by both parties on Monday, April 3.

The two provinces pledged to work together to benefit each other.

The four-page action plan written in English and Chinese was signed by Ilocos Norte Governor Ma. Imelda Josefa Marcos representing Ilocos Norte government and Wang Jungmin, Deputy Head of the Rural Work Leading Group of Shandong province.

The signing was witnessed by 32 provincial officials and businessmen from Shandong, China along with Ilocos Norte mayors and provincial legislators here.

Aimed to deliver good performance in a pragmatic cooperation between Ilocos Norte and Shandong as sister province for the past 15 years, the action plan is one of the major highlights of the Shandong delegates’ visit to Ilocos Norte on April 2-3.

The Shandong group arrived at the Laoag International Airport on April 2 as it visited a mango plantation in Mangato village, the China hybrid production site in San Nicolas town, including some facilities of the Mariano Marcos State University and Philippine Rice Research Institute, Marcos museum, Paoay Church, and the Malacanang of the north, among others. They are expected to fly back to Manila on Monday evening.

Prior to signing of action plan at the Capitol session hall, the Shandong officials first met with Ilocos Norte government officials and department heads, national government line agencies and business partners at the Plaza del Norte and Convention Center for the drafting of the said action plan followed by a match-making conference on the same day.

Among the key areas of cooperation which they agreed upon include a regular exchange and communication between foreign affairs departments of the two parties particularly on organizing reciprocal visit of working teams once every other year, deepen industrial development and cooperation such as on clean energy, waste water treatment, use of fertilizer and pesticide manufacturing, agricultural produce plantation and processing, animal products, agricultural machinery and technology, training programs for talents and agricultural technology, tourism promotion, including enhancing cooperation of maritime technology and professional training.

The Shandong and Ilocos Norte governments also look forward to creating livelihood, cultural and education exchanges.

“Finally, we are back on the right track and we hope to double time for lost time,” Governor Marcos told the Shandong delegates in a short speech after the action plan signing.

With the expected visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to China next month, Marcos said she hopes that this would mark the beginning of industrial development in the province through the development of the Currimao seaport and Laoag airport as a “true transport hub” for neighboring countries.

In his speech, Mr. Wang expressed gratitude for the people of Ilocos Norte for their warm welcome and hospitality since the delegation’s arrival on Sunday.

We hope for the continued friendship of the Philippines and China and we look forward to your next visit to Shandong,” said Mr. Wang as the group also donated at least three units of multi-pass rice mill for Ilocos farmers. Leilanie Adriano/PNA-northboundasia.com