The Balik Bacolod campaign in the US started on a high note with high caliber officials of the Philippine consulate in San Francisco assuring Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia their full support to this tourism and investment program.
Philippine Consul General Marciano Paynor, Jr. received Leonardia and party as arranged by Joe Gamboa at the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco and engaged him in in-depth wide-ranging talks that lasted an hour and a half, a press release from City Hall said.
The coming Masskara Festival was an opener, but subjects covered included investments opportunities, direct linkages of local governments with trade and investments units in embassies and consulates, and outreach and volunteer programs organized by balikbayans, the release said.
The Consul General was joined by Consul Jaime Ramon Ascalon, Trade Commissioner Michael Alfred Ignacio and Tourism Director for Northwestern USA and Western Canada Rene de Los Santos.
Ignacio expressed interest in Bacolod, when Leonardia pointed out that the Asian Institute of Management, United States Agency for International Aid and German Technical Cooperation classified Bacolod as the no. 2 Growth Center of the Philippines and that the Commission Information and Communication Technology noted that the city is top in terms of "business environment", the release said.
This is in addition to the proclamation of Philippine Chamber for Commerce and Industry of Bacolod as the "Most Business Friendly City in the Philippines." a few years back, it said.
De Los Santos agreed that the Masskara Festival is indeed popular and has enormous potential considering the new tourism slogan "It's more fun in the Philippines". And because MassKara emerged as the champion in the recent ABS-CBN "Showtime" national competition, thousands are expected to come to Bacolod this October, the release said.
The consular officials were also informed by Leonardia that the League of Cities of the Philippines will hold its national executive meeting in Bacolod during the festival days. Leonardia is the National Executive Vice President of LCP.
In turn, the consulate committed to study the possibility of linking their programs and projects directly to the city mayor.
Among the features of the MassKara Festival in October is the holding of a business forum with balikbayans and other prospective investors interacting with local businessmen and executives, the press release said.
Leonardia is also expected to meet with Bacoleños and Filipino groups in the San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas areas during his trip.*