CEBU, Philippines - The One Cebu Expo was formally opened yesterday at the Cebu International Convention Center as part of the activities of the 442nd Founding Anniversary of the Province of Cebu.
The event, now on its fourth year, is a project of Governor Gwendolyn Garcia in partnership with the business sector and the local government units who made the 360 booths this year.
Senator Franklin Drilon, Chile Ambassador Roberto Mayorga, former senator Letecia Ramos-Shahani, board member to the South Center delegation led by former Tanzanian president Benjamin William Mkapa and wife, Anna, graced the occasion.
Mkapa in his speech said he was impressed by the expo showing the solidarity of Cebu.
Drilon said that what he saw with his wife when he accepted the invitation to come to Cebu was a great exhibit that is attributed to the unity of the Cebuanos.
“I am beginning to see the reality of One Cebu with our City Mayor and the Cebu Governor sitting side by side today,” Drilon said.
Drilon said that Cebu led the nation in economic growth, good governance and tourism and the 360 booths are the proof of the economic power of Cebu.
If emulated by other provinces, Drilon said the One Cebu will soon be One Visayas then One Nation.
During the Mass before the formal opening, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma quoted Blessed Pope John Paul II who said “We must remember our past with gratitude, embrace the present with enthusiasm and look to the future with hope.”
“As we opened the One Cebu Expo, clearly we can see the mementos of a glorious past in the antiques that are being showcased in many of our booths, a glorious present with the beautiful furniture, fashion accessories, gifts, toys and houseware, products of our local government units and destination, we look forward with great hope,” Garcia said in her speech.
Garcia said that Cebu now stands proudly as the number one province of the entire country leading 79 others in terms of income, assets and cash. Cebu is also debt-free and insurgency-free.
During the tour of exhibits, Vice Governor Agnes Magpale and businesswoman Mariquita Salimbangon-Yeung said that this year’s exhibits are becoming bigger and nicer.
Last year’s expo attracted over 300 exhibitors also from all over the province and an international delegation from Guangxi Province in China and another from Korea. One Cebu chairman Enrisson Benedicto said that this year, they are not inviting foreign delegations because of difficulty they experienced in bringing in products from abroad.
The One Cebu Expo will last until August 15. (FREEMAN)