It had been quite the surprise when it was first announced at the start of the month. Both General Santos City in the Philippines and Jersey City in New Jersey, USA are classified as highly urbanized cities by the strict technical definition, but the differences between the two in appearance and impression can be as sharp as night and day. Will the two even be compatible enough to enter into an agreement to become sister cities? Why not? The matter was put to rest just this Tuesday following a grand signing ceremony at Jersey City, tying it and Gensan in a new bond of friendship.

Minda News reports that the Sister City signing ceremony between General Santos City and Jersey City went off without any complications at Jersey City Hall, August 14. Its Mayor Steven Fulop signed the Memorandum of Agreement for Sister-Cityhood alongside GenSan Vice-Mayor Shirlyn Bañas Nograles, head of the GSC delegation and standing in for Mayor Ronnel C. Rivera. One member of the GenSan party was City Economic Management and Cooperative Development Office (CEMCDO) head Leonard Flores, who noted on his Facebook page, “DONE DEAL! Sisterhood agreement between Jersey City and General Santos City signed and sealed.”

The signing ceremony was not the only thing the GenSan delegation was present at Jersey City for. In the following days they were conducted on a tour of the community as part of a trade and tourism mission between there and this city, as sisters. Part of the MOA signed by the two parties calls for Jersey and GenSan to “make efforts to promote goodwill on both sides, develop a friendly relationship through exchange in the fields of education, culture, heritage, the arts, tourism, agriculture, information technology and economics, in hopes that their partnership will promote internal peace and security.”

At present, GenSan now has seven international sister city agreements with the addition of Jersey City, which is the first link made by Generals to an American City. Other existing sister city relations include Japan’s Hadano City, the Australian town of Katherine in the Northern Territory, Monterey in Mexico, Indonesia’s Manado (North Sulawesi) and the whole province of Gorontalo, and finally Shantou in Guangdong, China.

Connections between Jersey City and GenSan came into being following communications between City Tourism Officer Cora Tito and born General Darlene Dilangalen Borromeo, now a Jersey City resident. As part of the tourism-trade mission, Vice-Mayor Nograles also brought along products from local manufacturing companies to show their Jersey City counterparts. It is hoped that they will manage to secure new markets for these products not just in Jersey but its neighboring communities in the US.

Images courtesy of Facebook

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