DUMAGUETE CITY, (PNA) -–Dumaguete Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria has expressed hope of replicating a successful government-university partnership of Yeongdong County in South Korea which he said has bolstered the latter’s economic environment.
The mayor and other local officials had visited Yeongdong County recently on an all-expenses paid trip as part of the cultural exchange between “sister cities”.
According to Mayor Sagarbarria, the Yeongdong trip was a learning experience for them as they were exposed to various government processes in that South Korean city.
One of the things that impressed him was the partnership between the government and universities in Yeongdong, primarily an agricultural city, in looking for a local product to develop, Sagarbarria said.
He disclosed that the Yeongdong government funded the universities to do research on the variety of grapes and the production of wine as a local product that has now made it to the international market.
Yeongdong is now a leading exporter of wine and grapes, Mayor Sagarbarria said.
“We’re looking at how to replicate that kind of partnership here,” he added.
A partnership among the local government, the universities, farmers and the community to work together would be a big boost to Dumaguete City, Sagarbarria said.
The sisterhood between Dumaguete City and Yeongdong County was inked in 2009, during the incumbency of the late Mayor Agustin Perdices.
Yeongdong County officials had visited Dumaguete once after the agreement was made between both cities, however, Perdices, who was later elected vice governor but who died in January 2011, was unable to replicate the visit, according to Sagarbarria.
Meanwhile, the Dumaguete mayor clarified that his wife, Maisa, was with the official delegation to Yeongdong but that she had personally paid for her trip.
He was reacting to reports that some people in the Dumaguete delegation were not city officials.