MANILA, Philippines — The small coastal city of Navotas has found its first sister city in its bigger and more industrialized neighbor, Valenzuela City.
Officials from the two cities signed on Monday an agreement binding them as “sister cities,” aimed at strengthening cooperation and sharing of best practices between the two cities.
The sisterhood agreement was backed by a resolution filed by Navotas Second District Councilor Enrico Gino-Gino.
During the signing ceremonies, Navotas Mayor John Reynald Tiangco noted the importance of cooperation between cities to help solve common problems.
“What is important here is that we learn from them, and we also hope that they learn from us, all the while cooperating to solve the common problems we have here in Camanava (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela area), such as the constant flooding we experience during the rainy season,” Tiangco said in his speech.
For his part, Valenzuela City First District Representative Sherwin Gatchalian noted that when he was mayor of Valenzuela, he made a number of visits to Navotas to observe how they ran the local government and apply it back to his constituency.
“The lesson here is if we’re willing to learn and not afraid to copy, we can get many ideas from many places in the country,” said Gatchalian, who represented his brother, Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian, during the ceremonies.
For his part, Tiangco said that revenue generation, education and healthcare would be the key areas that Navotas would immediately seek to learn more from Valenzuela under the agreement.
“For revenue generation, our revenues increase almost every year. But maybe we can learn more from Valenzuela to maybe increase our collections and give better projects. For education, we hope to emulate how Valenzuela increased their NAT (National Achievement Test) scores, and for health care, we hope to get advice on how to run a hospital, since we are building one right now,” he said in an interview.
For Gatchalian, Valenzuela could learn a lot from how Navotas copes with the floods and storm surges it experiences during the rainy season.
“We hope we can cooperate in terms of disaster preparedness efforts, on how to move and how we can help each other when disasters strike. We both have rescue teams, maybe we can closely coordinate our efforts and resources. We also want to study further how Navotas mitigates the effects of floods,” Gatchalian said.