Delegation from Philippines recognized by council

LIHU‘E — The Kaua‘i County Council welcomed on Wednesday a delegation from San Nicolas, a province of Ilocos Norte in the Philippines.

“For two nights we had such a nice time here,” San Nicolas Vice Mayor Teresa Valdez-Barrett told council members. “Thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts.”

Valdez-Barrett, accompanied by San Nicolas Council members Oscar Domingo and Angel Miguel Hernando, and San Nicolas Council secretary Enrique Ulep Jr., received a certificate from Kaua‘i County Council members.

“The County of Kaua‘i has greatly benefited from the contributions made by the Filipino immigrants to Hawai‘i, as reflected in the State of Hawai‘i’s recognition of its rich blend of many cultures,” said Council Chair Jay Furfaro, reading from the  certificate.

The majority of the Filipino immigrants who have settled on Kaua‘i come from Philippines’ Ilocos Norte region, said Furfaro, adding that the Filipino population comprises the second-largest ethnic group on Kaua‘i.

San Nicolas, a municipality of 36,000 inhabitants, is a sister city to Maui County. Valdez-Barrett said her delegation came with an objective of strengthening ties with Kaua‘i.

 Council Vice Chair JoAnn Yukimura was impressed with the aggressive efforts of San Nicolas to promote recycling, establish proper solid waste disposal and protect the environment.

San Nicolas is divided into 24 barangays, the smallest division of government in the Philippines, according to Valdez-Barrett. The municipality is known for its white sandy beaches and beautiful shoreline, Valdez-Barrett said.

She told the county that the municipality has eight elementary schools and four high schools.

San Nicolas has won several national education awards in Philippines, and is the 2012 National Champion of Literacy, due its efforts to eliminate illiteracy, she said.

Before leaving the council chambers to follow on a scheduled trip to Big Island, Valdez-Barrett and her delegation thanked council members and invited them to visit San Nicolas.

• Léo Azambuja, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or lazambuja@ thegardenisland.com.

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