State of California and Province of Bulacan forge sisterhood


CITY OF MALOLOS—The State of California and the province of Bulacan forge a sisterhood partnership to promote and explore educational, economic and cultural exchanges that will help bolster more growth and more developments in the two regions.  

 A program for the exchange of the framed copy of the resolutions was held on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas, Pasig City.

Gov. Daniel R. Fernando and Vice Gov. Alexis Castro signed the Provincial Government of Bulacan Resolution No. 538-S’2023, “A resolution approving and accepting the sisterhood partnership/sister state partnership between the provincial government of Bulacan and the State of California and granting the Provincial Governor, Hon. Daniel R. Fernando, authority to represent the Provincial Government of Bulacan, to enter into and sign in the aforementioned sisterhood partnership /sister state partnership”.

California Senate Resolution “Sister State Relationship with the Philippines, Province of Bulacan” was signed by Senator Anthony Portantino of the 25th District of California and other Senators and officials of the State of California. The resolution was introduced in the Senate on April 27, 2023 and was filed with the Secretary of the Senate on August 23, 2023.

Arch. Editha Fuentes, Chair of the City Planning Commission, City of Glendale, California and Ambassador of the California Senate for International Goodwill and Understanding said Bulacan is the first province the State of California sought to become a sister after one year of selection process and deliberations. Bulacan, bested Ilocos region and Davao province being the top three choices out of more than a dozen earlier pre listed choices of provinces and cities in the country.

“Bulacan is a first class province with outstanding qualities because it is very rich in history, heritage, arts, crafts, products and is one of the biggest exporters and importers with California that’s why it has become the top choice. I was really really moved that all the senators unanimously voted that it will be Bulacan,” Fuentes, who is 20 years Planning and Zoning Administrator to the City of Glendale, California, said in her message before California and Bulacan delegates.

98.33 percent literacy rate

Fernando said in the resolution that “Bulacan literacy rate is 98. 33 percent, translates to highly educated and highly trainable workforce, highly skilled craftsmen; and design-oriented and entrepreneurially skilled people have attained international recognition by the State of California”.

California giving high regard to this outstanding achievement of Bulacan “extends an invitation to the province of Bulacan, Philippines to join with California in a sister state relationship in order to encourage and facilitate mutually beneficial educational, economic, cultural exchanges,” the governor also said in the resolution.

“The Senate of the State of California, the Assembly therefore concurring, The Legislature, on behalf of the people of the State of California, hereby extends to the People of the Philippines Province of Bulacan an invitation to join with California in a sister state relationship in order to encourage and facilitate mutually beneficial educational, economic and cultural exchanges go also further promote the prosperity of both the regions and to improve international understanding and goodwill between both regions,” the California resolution stated.

Rich history, culture and heritage

The California officials not only recognized Bulacan’s high literacy rate but the province rich history and culture being the site of the Biak-na-Bato Republic, the site of the Malolos Congress in 1898, the Americans establishment of a civil government in the Philippines, where the country’s  first election was held in now the City of Baliwag on May 6, 1899 including the nearly 3.8 million population of Bulacan and as of 2020 and being the largest province in Central Luzon.

Highly skilled, entrepreneurially skilled people  

The resolution also stated that the high literacy rate of 98.33 percent, means that 2, 230,000 of Bulacan’s population are literate, has a highly educated, highly trainable workforce, highly skilled craftsmen and design-oriented and entrepreneurially skilled people.

Castro in his speech expressed his very warm gratitude to all the leaders of California who picked the province as sisterhood partner. This would mean more exposure and promotion of Bulacan products in the United States particularly in California, more students in all fields seeking expertise in California and more jobs for Bulakenyos and the rest of the Filipinos.

“We are very glad that they perceive Bulacan because of its glorious past, its present progress and developments and what it would be and give the world in the very near future. Certainly, Bulacan is the next big thing,” Castro added.

According to the most recent United States census, there are approximately 4 million Filipino Americans living in the United States with one-half or about 2 million living in California, many of whom are American citizens or dual citizens and the Legislature wishes to recognize the Philippine Province of Bulacan as a sister, the resolution also reads.

Fuentes sees exchanges in education, businesses and business ideas, modern technology, public relations, etc. “California still wants to learn as we also want help to contribute modern systems and techniques to improve lives better everyday,” she told NEWS CORE in an interview.

Fuentes who is now the Ambassador of the California Senate for International Goodwill and Understanding also told the media in the interview that they want to help the country improve its traffic and transportation, improve ways and methods in doing business and others. “Sa California walang masyadong red tape,” (In California, there is really not much red tape), she told the media.

“That the pact will identify areas of mutual interest, create a list of potential activities and create an initial list of public and private partners that will help to advance the purposes of the sister state agreement, including one or more entities that will serve as a facilitator general point of contact,” the California resolution also said.

“That the Secretary of the State of California will transmit copies of the said resolution to the Governor of California, the Lieutenant Governor of California, the Governor of the Philippine Province of Bulacan, the Bulacan Provincial Board and each Senator and Representative from California in the United States Congress,” it further said.

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