Singaporean Ambassador Kok Li Peng was in Dumaguete City recently, for the send-off of 30 students from the Negros Oriental State University, who will be on a three-week international skills exchange program in Singapore.
She said a group of Singaporean students will be coming to Dumaguete in March next year for the same purpose. She added that diplomatic relations between Singapore and the Philippines remain steadfast and strong for 48 years.
The ambassador had a good time exploring the culture and arts in Dumaguete, and said this is another area that she is working, on how to go with people to people exchanges, how to share respective government culture and arts, including the food, which she considers the most pleasant side of her job.
She called Dumaguete “a hidden gem with beautiful sceneries”, and has the shortest route to Cebu via Oslob.
“I think this is an exciting time for Dumaguete because as you grow, the charm and the beauty of the city will become renowned not just in the Philippines. The Singaporeans will also be able to join you,” the ambassador said.
Mayor Felipe Remollo said the coming of Ambassador Kok Li Peng opened a door to a lot of possibilities for Dumaguete and its people, aside from the ongoing academic relationship with a group of students in the school operated by Dave Saceda.
The mayor was looking forward to cooperative undertakings with Singapore, in terms of culture, arts and technology, and in the preservation of the environment, he said.
Remollo said Singapore is a very small country, but it has proven itself that it is not in the hugeness or smallness but the will to progress. Singaporeans are known to be disciplined people and that's what the mayor has dreamed of for the country, particularly for Dumageteños.
Remollo said it's a fact that Singapore now realizes that the one child policy they have implemented does not work anymore for that country because at present there are more old people living in Singapore.
“Perhaps, we can export our young people there, and Singapore can send their old people here to be taken care of by our hospitals. They can come and retire here in Dumaguete, dubbed by world magazines as the fifth best retirement place in the world,” Remollo said.
He added the city would also want to learn from the Singapore experience on how they were able to manage their traffic and waste disposal.*JG
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