Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda (Facebook photo)
LEGAZPI CITY – The Incheon Metropolitan City, South Korea’s powerhouse business center, has recently reappointed Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda as its Advisor for International Affairs for another two years, a post he held since 2009 when he was Albay governor, and which would span 16 straight years by 2025.
Salceda’s certificate of reconfirmation was signed by Incheon Mayor Jeong-Bok Yoo on November 28, 2023 and will remain valid until November 27, 2025.
A separate Notice of Reappointment, signed by Incheon Director of Foreign Affairs Department Young-Sin Kim quotes Article II of the Ordinance for International Cooperation and Exchanges, and the Internationalization of the Incheon Metropolitan City, as basis for Salceda’s appointment renewal.
His 2009 appointment, Salceda said, firmed up the province’s economic partnership forged at the Incheon Sister Cities Conference that year, with a sisterhood pact, intended to cement trade and investment cooperation between Incheon and Albay, which was preceded by a bilateral relations that goes back to 2007 when he was Albay provincial governor.
Salceda, who is currently in his last term as member of Congress and sits as chair of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, has thanked Incheon Mayor Jeong-Bok Yoo and the Incheon Metropolitan Authority for the continued trust given him for the past 14 years.
The Congressman also expressed optimism the existing sisterhood pact between the two local governments will continue to flourish. He said his second congressional district office, located in Legazpi City, Albay’s business hub and the regional center of Bicol, can help facilitate fresh trade relations with Incheon.
Salceda started to develop links with South Korea, Incheon City most specifically, in December of 2007, establishing close relations with top officials and legislators, before his appointment as International Economic Advisor of Incheon Metropolitan Authority.
The honor, he said, is bestowed on Albay and its people for its solid achievements in local governance where, during his three-term as governor, the province was adjudged by the Department of Interior and Local Government Best Province in 2013: Education (AHECS, EQUAL – free tuition in all community colleges and BU satellite campuses, BRYT, Bakas, NAT from 177 to 19, Provincial Education Department (the only LGU with this regular office) GRASSP, the Bicol University modernization and TESDA mass trainings;
During Salceda’s 9-year Albay governorship, he also earned a splurge of many other honors and awards including the following: Disaster Risk Reduction-Climate Change Adaptation (zero casualty, preemptive evacuation, CBDRM, Climate Change Academy; Albay Provincial Safety Emergency Management Office (Apsemo) leading role with three consecutive Kalasag Awards for the province, for the city and for Sto. Domingo town (all Hall of Famers) and one Galing Pook Award for Apsemo and one Galing Pook Award for Team Albay Humanitarian Disaster Response, Albay Health Emergency Management or AHEMs;
First Asian chair of the United Nations Green Climate Fund, Senior Global Champion of UN ISDR in DRR-CCA, first Asian co-chair of Green Climate Fund (which raised $13 billion for climate adaptation and mitigation); health (achievement of health MDGs with one Galing Pook Award, Manuel L Quezon Award from DOH for TB eradication (97% immunization, 100% notification and 97% cure rate; (“I consider this award as dearest to my heart since it has not been awarded since then in 2015 and 26 years before that,” he noted); BHW empowerment, BRTTH modernization – ongoing 600 bed capacity, Bicol Heart Center, ER Trauma, Bicol Cancer Institute and 2015 Manuel L Quezon Award for TB eradication);
Spatial development of the Guinobatan-Camalig-Daraga-Legazpi economic platform, the Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon Tourism Alliance, the Bicol International Airport, Daraga 4-Quadrant Suburban Development, Mayon Southeast Quadrant, 4-Island Summit, concreting of the Camalig Bypass Road, Duterte Bypass Road), tourism, arts, culture and heritage (increase in tourism from 133,440 to 1,816,056 (competitive selection of Albay as Philippine Tourism Star in February 2015;
Selection of Albay by TripAdvisor/PATA as Top Destination in October 2015 foreign tourists from 8,765 to 439,175; and domestic tourists from 124,675 to 1,376,681 (on account of the Magayon Arts/Culture-based Festival, Karangahan Festival, Culinaria Albay; and support to all town festivals, hosting of PATA International Convention, WTO and APEC, NAITAS, Philtoa, opening of Legazpi Airport to Chinese market;
Hosting of the Queen of Spain, hosting of Palarong Pambansa in 2015 after 45 years, three times Regional Champion in Palarong Bicol after 28 years, Albay Poet Laureate award, Albay Pageant Academy, Albay Ethnographical Surveillance and environment award (UNESCO Albay Biosphere, increase in forested area from 25,000 to 88,000 hectares, and mangrove trees from 800 to 2,400, Albay Blue Economy); and
The unfinished Albay Integrated Comprehensive Advanced Strategy for Agriculture program (AICASA) where Albay increased irrigated rice farms from 18,000 to 24,000 hectares and became the 2nd highest producer in camote. In this regard, the the current provincial administration is now being recognized for its earnest efforts in agriculture, and has now its own achievements to enumerate, as well as its own economic priorities and opportunities.
Salceda has already served six terms as Incheon Foreign Advisor — 1st term, 2009-2011; 2nd term, 2011-2013; 3rd term, 2013-2015, 4th term, 2015-2017; 5th term, 2019-2021; 6th term, 2021-2023; he is now in his 7th term.