CEBU, Philippines—Kaoshiung City officials offered 1,000 jobs in Taiwan to skilled Cebuano workers even as they pledged to donate 20 more Kaohsiung buses next year as an expression of their friendship with their city of Cebu.
“We will provide workers with opportunities in Taiwan,” said Hsin Shing Wu, representative of the Taiwan government to the Philippines.
Wu led yesterday a delegation of Kaoshiung City officials inside reclaimed land in the South Road Properties.
“Cebu has always been a friendly neighboring city,” he said. He was here with Kwo Tsia, the director general of the Transportation Bureau of Taiwan, for the formal turnover of the six Kaoshiung buses to Cebu City.
Wu said in his brief speech that 20 more buses will be coming from Kaoshiung next year.
In turn, Mayor Tomas Osmeña nominated Kaoshiung as the host city for the Asia Pacific sister cities summit in 2009. Osmeña also invited Kaoshiung officials to the Sinulog grand mardi gras next year to strengthen an exchange of culture and explore more possibilities of commerce and trade in Cebu.
“The mutual support and assistance between the two sister cities has become very meaningful,” said Wu. The sisterhood pact between Cebu city and Taiwan’s second largest city was sealed in 1988.
Councilor Augustus Pe Jr. said six buses donated by the City of Kaoshiung arrived in Cebu a few months ago but they were refurbished first before the formal turnover.
The city allotted P1.2 million for this although it expects to spend only half of the amount. The city spent P500,000 to refurbish four of the six buses turned over yesterday.
Pe said the buses have been very useful to the city both in good times and the bad.
Four newly refurbished buses ferried guests during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit held in Cebu last January while the first set of buses that arrived from Kaoshiung in 1988 helped evacuate families from coastal barangays at the height of typhoon Ruping the following year.
Even buses that are no longer in running condition are useful. They were turned into temporary shelters for fire victims and victims of natural calamities, Pe said. Others were converted into a mobile classroom and library.
Reporter Doris C. Bongcac