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Kawakami leads Kaua‘i delegation in visit to Philippines

LIHU‘E — A Kaua‘i delegation’s weeklong venture to the Philippines was deemed a success on both the business development and diplomatic fronts, as the group reforged its partnership with the country.

The delegation, which was led by Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami, was in the Philippines from May 20-26 on a trip referred to as The Northern Ilocos Region Philippines Sister Cities and Manila Business Development Visit.

“On behalf of my family and our Kaua‘i delegation, mahalo to everyone in the Philippines who welcomed us with open arms during my first visit to this beautiful country,” said Kawakami in a statement.

“It means the world that everyone took the time to share important elements of Filipino culture — from music, dance, stories and ideas. On Kaua‘i, we will continue to embrace the value that Filipinos bring to our community and way of life.”

The visit began with a stop in the city of Laoag, which was established as a sister city of Kaua‘i in 2011. That was followed by visits to the city of Vigan and the city of Candon, which was established as a Friendship City in 2018.

The delegation then journeyed to the municipality of Bangued, which was established as a Sister City in 2000, before heading to the municipality of Santa. The municipality of Santa was established as a Sister City in 2011.

That was followed by a visit to the municipality of Cabugao before the delegation headed back to Laoag. Along the way, Kawakami and the delegation met with a number of local and government officials.

Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i President and CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara joined the delegation on the final leg of the journey, which included a meeting with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.

The meeting with PCCI included a discussion about student exchange opportunities, workforce shortage in the visitor industry, sustainability efforts and future business opportunities between Hawai‘i and the Philippines.

The final meeting with AmCham covered similar territory, as well as importing and exporting of goods and services.

“I was honored to represent the Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i as part of Mayor Kawakami’s delegation to the Philippines. Our meetings with PCCI and AmCham were extremely productive,” said Menor-McNamara in a statement.

“This is just the beginning of our partnership. Together we will create economic development opportunities to solve challenges with collaborative solutions for Kaua‘i and the state of Hawai‘i. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with both organizations,” Menor-McNamara said.

The delegation included Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu Emil Fernandez, Miss Hawai‘i Filipina 2022 Xarika Casticimo, and a number of local officials and business leaders.

“I am happy to have been part of the delegation from Kaua‘i that undertook a visit to the Philippines to touch base with officials of selected municipalities of the Ilocos region that the county sister and friendship city
relationships with,” said Fernandez in a statement.

“We could not have asked for a warmer and more hospitable reception. The trip also enabled delegation members to explore economic opportunities through engagements with leading business chambers. It was evident that Filipinos were charmed with Mayor Kawakami’s demeanor and sincerity in forging deeper ties between the people of Kaua‘i and the cities visited,” Fernandez said.


Wyatt Haupt Jr., editor, can be reached at 808-245-0457 or
Source: The Garden Island

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