By Perla Lena
ILOILO CITY — The city government here is optimistic about building relationships with the Australian government and finding support for its programs on education as well as its street children.
Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III hosted Ben Esguerra, Second Secretary (Political) of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on April 12.
Esguerra said his visit was aimed at finding out whatever opportunities in Iloilo.
“I just look at everything going on, see what opportunities in here and report it back and let people know what I found out. There is nothing specific,” he said in an interview after his courtesy call with the city mayor.
He said it was his first time in Iloilo and described it as “a great place and very beautiful.”
Espinosa during the meeting explained that Iloilo City has been partnering with Australia in some projects and programs, not necessarily on a government to government basis but with civic groups.
The mayor was former President of APEX Club Iloilo City whose mother club is Australian APEX. He said that they used to have a program on education under the “Big Brother, Small Brother Concept”.
Also, they have established projects like the nutrition office and automotive and plumbing centers at the Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISAT U).
The mayor hoped that the city government could seek support for its education programs and as well as in the establishment of a halfway house for street children and children-in-conflict with the law.
“They will just communicate,” he said, adding that Esguerra has roots in Iloilo, thus it won’t be difficult getting in touch with his office. (PNA)