LIHUE — After a heated debate at Wednesday’s county council meeting, a resolution inviting the City of Davao, Philippines into a sister city relationship with the County of Kauai was approved.
During a trip to Davao last year with Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., Council Chair Mel Rapozo said they discussed the possibility of becoming sister cities, but what the council would need to know is what the plans are to develop this relationship moving forward.
Since the trip, Rapozo said he doesn’t know how the relationship between Kauai and Davao has developed.
“Normally what happens is when we develop a sister city relationship, it’s between the mayor and the council,” he said.
He said it was concerning.
“I think we should at least be involved in this process and I think (Derek) Kawakami should be the first one to be invited, but for everyone to welcome the county council to be welcome to the service, not just the mayor and I think that’s where I’m having a problem with this,” he said.
Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura said she would appreciate a map of where Davao is and some background on how many sister city relationships Kauai already has in the Philippines.
“If we do a relationship with every city we visit, that’s not going to work,” Yukimura said, because there’s a cost involved. She said the council deserves a more thorough presentation on the matter.
Since Kauai has 11 sister cities, Councilmember Ross Kagawa argued why hold up voting on this resolution for a presentation when they can discuss that at a later date.
Yukimura disagreed. She said this was an official act that was just thrown on the agenda without the council knowing any background about the resolution.
“This doesn’t seem very professional,” Yukimura said.
Kagawa said he has seen many sister city resolutions come through the council, but there’s never been a formal presentation about them.
“Let’s not blame them. It’s never been done as far as I know,” Kagawa said.
In the end, Yukimura said she is in favor of building relationships with the Philippines, because Kauai has so many people here from that country.
Rapozo said it was disrespectful that this body wasn’t informed or a part of the planning and discussion on this matter.
“At least give an opportunity to a member of this council to go with the mayor and be part of the ceremony. It just doesn’t commit the administration, it commits the council as well,” Rapozo said.
Carvalho will be vacationing in the Philippines next week. He’s planning on visiting with the mayor of Davao during his trip.