LIHUE — Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. and Council Chair Mel Rapozo returned to Kauai last week after leading the Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii’s 26th trade mission to the Philippines.
“The trade mission enabled us to establish relationships with government and industry leaders in the Philippines, bolster existing relationships, as well as to connect with our sister city of Urdaneta,” Carvalho said.
During the four-day visit, Carvalho and Rapozo met with government officials, promoted Kauai and Hawaii as a visitor destination, and built relationships with industry leaders with the goal of strengthening economic ties between Kauai and the Philippines.
“The Filipino Chamber of Commerce’s recent trade mission to the Philippines provided the mayor and I with an opportunity to explore economic possibilities that we fully intend to pursue,” Rapozo said. “Agriculture, tourism, arts and culture, and education are areas that we can benefit from.”
The Hawaii delegation included Planning Director Mike Dahilig; Philippine Council General for Honolulu Gina Jamoralin; Jeffrey De Mesa, protocol officer at Philippine Consulate General; United Filipino Council of Hawaii President Jimmy Iloreta; FCCH President Bernadette Fajardo; and other business leaders from around the state.
As head of the delegation, Mayor Carvalho served as the lead host of the chamber’s dinner reception in Manila. Over 100 Philippine leaders along with officials from the Philippine Department of Tourism attended the event.
In his address, the mayor emphasized that aloha and economic relationships do not have to be exclusive, and that many of the values-driven businesses in Hawaii comport with core Philippine values. He also noted another similarity between Hawaii and the Philippines in that each has potential for economic growth, particularly in agriculture and tourism.
Dahilig spoke at the University of the Philippines, School of Urban Regional Planning. He was invited to be a featured speaker in the school’s annual public lecture series on global urban planning issues.
The discussion centered on Kauai’s progressive approach toward shoreline hazard adaptation.