CHINESE CONSULAR OFFICE IN DAVAO OPENS VISA SERVICES
Chinese Consul General Li Lin handed over the passport of Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag, who was the first to apply a Chinese visa during the opening of the visa service of the Chinse Consulate in Davao City on Monday. (PNA photo by Lilian C Mellejor)
DAVAO CITY — This city’s vice mayor and several members of the Filipino-Chinese community in this city became the first visa applicants when the visa section of the Consular Office of the People’s Republic of China here opened on Monday.
Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag said he will use his visa in traveling to China for the launch of the Davao City-Jinjiang direct flight on December 18.
“This visa service is one of the elements to support the direct flight from Davao City to Jinjiang,” Al-ag said.
Jinjiang is Davao City’s second sister city in the People’s Republic of China.
Among the early applicants include Jill Irish Li, who runs a travel agency in the city.
Li, who is married to a Chinese national, said the opening of the visa section is a respite to a long process of getting a Chinese visa in Manila.
She said the opening of the visa service will make business transactions more convenient and cheaper for her clients.
Consul General Li Lin said the opening of the visa section will not only further bolster the tourism and business industry of Davao but also the Philippine-China relations. It came only just two months after the Chinese Consulate opened in October here.
Li said the visa section can receive 100 to 150 applications per day, and fees will differ depending on the number of stay and entry to China.
Li said they can also renew passports of Filipino-Chinese or Chinese citizens and process other consular documents. Based on his information, Li said Filipino-Chinese make up 2 to 3 percent of Mindanao’s population.
“This service is first in Mindanao,” he told reporters in an interview on the sidelines of the launch.
He said the consulate can also support or promote friendly bilateral relations and help boost economic cooperation between China-Davao and Mindanao especially in the area of agriculture, illegal drugs rehabilitation program, fishery and the “Build, Build, Build” strategy.
According to Li, the opening of the Chinese Consulate has already triggered an increase in Chinese visitors to Davao either on pleasure or business.
“Actually, there is quite a lot of Chinese business groups coming to visit here to have a feasibility study. We have already asked four to five businesses to come to Mindanao,” Li said.
“I hope visa and passport service will add an element to facilitate bilateral cooperation and friendly exchanges between China and the Philippines with a focus on Mindanao,” Li added. (PNA)