It has been over a week now since the 2019 GenSan Tuna Festival came to an end, and while the event this year enjoined local merrymakers and guests from all over to “experience new flavors” among its ensemble of attractions, one might wonder if there were indeed any new things coming in the aftermath of the festival that will last for longer. As it turns out, there is. Right after the culmination of Tuna Fest 2019 the City Mayor met with a delegation led by his counterpart from Mabalacat, Pampanga. What they signed was a new local sister-city agreement with the possibility of opening direct flights between GenSan and Clark.

Sun-Star Pampanga reports that a new sister city agreement was inked by GenSan City Mayor Ronnel Rivera and Mabalacat City Mayor Cris Garbo in the wake of the 2019 Tuna Festival, joining their respective communities in the mutual directive of opening direct flights connecting GenSan International Airport and Clark International Airport, which lies in Mabalacat as well as part of the Clark Freeport Zone. This in itself is the culmination of an earlier visit in June by stakeholders from Clark, which was on a mission of trade, investment and tourism.

According to Mayor Garbo, direct GenSan-Clark flights serve both travelers cargo shipments by reducing both costs and travel times. Tourists and businessmen can quickly travel between one of Luzon’s heartland areas and the commercial-industrial center of the SOCSKSARGEN Region. In terms of quickly moving commodities, this agreement if fully realized can see shipments of GenSan sashimi-grade tuna quickly reaching markets in Pampanga and the rest of Luzon, while also arriving at the jump-off point of Clark International Airport where they can connect with overseas destinations such as Taiwan, Singapore, the US, Europe and even Japan.

Of course, there are other tenets in the new GenSan-Mabalacat sister-cityhood agreement beyond just facilitating air travel and transport links between the two communities. Much like the international agreement with Jersey City last year, there will also be exchanges of localized trade and tourism between north and south, the better to foster understanding and goodwill. For his part, Mayor Ronnel Rivera already entered into memorandums of understanding with the Clark Development Corporation, as well as with Mabalacat’s southern neighboring cities of Angeles and the Pampanga capital of San Fernando, although both of these were represented only by City Councilors standing in for their respective Mayors.

GenSan already has existing local sister-cityhood ties with Quezon City, Iloilo City and Naga City.

Image from Punto! Central Luzon

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