German Ambassador Anke Reiffenstuel met with Negros Occidental and Bacolod officials to discuss the potential for cooperation in business and environment protection between her country and the province and city on Wednesday, October 13.
During her meeting with Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson at the provincial Capitol in Bacolod, they talked about business and investment opportunities for the province, as well as tourism promotion.
“It is important as an ambassador to this country, to know the country,” she said.
“Negros is an important place to go because it has an important role to play in the country with the sugar industry and we do a lot of projects here,” she said.
The ambassador said she was in Negros to learn more about it and the potential for further cooperation.
Germany also has agrarian reform projects in the province and she was also meeting with representatives non government organizations, she said.
Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said the ambassador “visited Negros Occidental because she feels that they have very important projects here with respect to environmental protection and agrarian reform, and business interests.”
The ambassador wanted to see how Negros Occidental is fairing after 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
The ambassador, who also met with Mayor Evelio Leonardia at the Bacolod City Government Center, said “I was really impressed to find such a huge potential for cooperation. There is an interest in increasing the renewable energy sector here. This is something the German business, economy, and our partners are interested in.”
“It’s too early to say this but I am happy that I could take back this feedback and input I got this morning during the exchange with the mayor and city executives to our business partners, and to follow up with our headquarters and to report back on these experiences,” she added.
She was accompanied by German Embassy Political Advisor Lanz Paningbatan.
Leonardia said the ambassador is exploring possibilities, including investments, and he told her that Bacolod has been consistently included in the annual list of the Most Business-Friendly Cities in the Philippines, as recognized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is the biggest organization of business leaders in the country.
As for the COVID-19 being a global pandemic, Leonardia said, “I also pointed out to the ambassador that this is the time that we are going to ride the road to recovery and that we should be exchanging notes and comparing our situation with that of Germany, so that we can learn from each other. She was very receptive to that.”
“As we travel towards that road to recovery, we would like to get some tips from the German Embassy, like if there are some programs that we can implement here that can speed up our recovery from the pandemic,” the mayor added.
“It is a learning experience to meet people and organizations here. I have to come back because I have so much more to know and to see,” the ambassador said.
Reiffenstuel was assigned to the German Embassy in Manila in August 2019.*