The city government and the municipality of Camiling in Tarlac province signed a sisterhood agreement on Monday to advance the cultural and trade linkages of the two areas.
City Mayor Ronnel Rivera and Camiling Mayor Erlon Agustin led the virtual signing of a memorandum of agreement to formalize the bond and further enhance the socio-cultural connections of both localities.
Rivera said they pursued the sisterhood agreement, the ninth for the local government, to give tribute to the city’s founder, the late Gen. Paulino Santos, who hails from Camiling.
“This is an expression of acknowledging our past and honoring the legacy of Gen. Santos,” he said during the signing ceremony.
Rivera said it also manifests the local government’s continuing efforts to look beyond its existing resources and introduce new developments as it pushes to bring the city to “greater heights.”
Through the sisterhood deal, Rivera said both areas will benefit from the public-private partnerships as well as expansion of investments, trade, culture and tourism linkages, and other cooperation and collaborations.
For his part, Agustin expressed gratitude to the city for considering their “humble municipality” to become its sister locality.
He acknowledged that Camiling and the city share a common bond through Gen. Santos, who was “born and raised” in their town.
Santos, who had served as commanding general of the Philippine Army and eventually the administrator of the National Land Settlement Administration, was instrumental in the establishment of the settlements here in the late 1930s and in five other nearby areas.
“Such (a) link between our communities will now be strengthened and institutionalized,” Agustin said.
He said they are hoping that the sisterhood bond will “expand, build and deliver great benefits to both our constituents.”
Agustin cited potential cooperation in various fields such as trade and commerce; tourism, culture, heritage, and the arts; education; agriculture, and environment.
The municipal government of Camiling accepted early this year the city’s sisterhood proposal through Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No. 77.
The proposed sisterhood initially came up during the reunion here in February last year of the descendants of Gen. Santos, some of whom are based in this city and the neighboring areas.
Francisco Santos, a grandson of the late general and president of the Pioneers-Descendants of General Santos City Inc., saw the need during the gathering to connect the socio-cultural ties of the two areas.
He said they later submitted a sisterhood proposal “to promote cultural and commercial ties” in a courtesy call to Vice Mayor Loreto Acharon and eventually to the city mayor.
A member of the clan based in Camiling also presented the same to Mayor Agustin, he said.
Santos said it led to further discussions with concerned officials that were facilitated by the City Economic Management and Cooperative Development Office.
“We are happy that this has finally materialized. We now look forward to a better friendship, good relations, and close cooperation, between the two communities,” he said.
The first settlement in the city was established in 1939 with the relocation of settlers from Luzon led by Gen. Santos. It was then placed under the municipal district of Buayan, which later became a fourth-class municipality in 1947.
It was renamed in 1954 as the municipality of General Santos to pay tribute to the settlement’s acknowledged founder.
Camiling is a first-class town and a growing economic hub in Tarlac. It is dubbed as the “Old Lady” in the northwestern province being one of the oldest municipalities created in the area.(PNA)