DAVAO CITY (PIA)-On a daily basis, about 150 visa applicants can have their documents processed in China's newly opened consulate general office here.
Consul General Li Lin said it was an important step forward for the consulate general office in Davao to process visa applications barely a month after its inauguration last October 28.
"This will facilitate bilateral exchanges between China and the Philippines especially in the southern part. It also shows the Chinese government's confidence on the City of Davao," Li said.
"Although we are seeing about 150 applications daily, we would want to experiment and even offer in the future other services like consular documents and notary certificates," said Li.
First to submit his visa application was Davao City Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag. " Instead of going to Manila to apply for visa, I got my visa here in Davao as I was their first client today at the visa and passport service center," he said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs commended the Chinese consul general as it took both parties 20 years before the consular office materialized in Davao.
"It was in 1997 that a bilateral agreement between China and the Philippines aimed to build a consular office in Mindanao," said Acting Assistant Secretary for DFA-Mindanao Robert Ferrer Jr.
The launching of the visa processing center of the consulate office was also deemed to be timely for the inaugural flight of Xiamen Airlines from Davao City to Jinjiang City in China's Fujian Province next week.
The local governments of Davao and Jinjiang had signed a sisterhood agreement which led to the twice-a-week flight connecting the two cities.
Li said if the Philippines and China work hand in hand, China can contribute a lot to President Rodrigo Duterte's "Build,Build, Build" infrastructure program.
Without a fix and solid figures of total number of Chinese in Mindanao, the consul general explained it is actually hard to get the figures as Chinese and Filipinos mix very well through inter-marriage.
Al-ag enjoined Dabawenyos to have their visa processed in Davao, instead of in Manila, as well as take the direct flight to Jinjiang.
"I invite Dabawenyos to explore China the same way as I invite the Chinese to come here and explore Davao City," Al-ag said. (FGM)