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SENATE WELCOMES VIETNAM NAT’L ASSEMBLY DELEGATION

The Senate of the Philippines welcomed a delegation of the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the country, for the first official inter parliamentary exchange between the Philippines and Vietnam since 2006.

The delegation was headed by no less than the President of the National Assembly, Vuong Dinh Hue.

Senate President Migz Zubiri received them at the Senate, where they witnessed the adoption of Senate Resolution No. 303, commending the National Assembly, under the leadership of President Vuong, for strengthening Philippines-Vietnam interparliamentary relations.

“We are each other’s sole strategic partners in the ASEAN, united in our goal of attaining mutual progress as burgeoning Southeast Asian economies,” Zubiri said in his co-sponsorship speech.

“We are united by our need to fortify our geopolitical powers and maritime security, and we are allied through our economic and socio-cultural cooperation and exchanges.”

“We are united by our need to fortify our geopolitical powers and maritime security, and we are allied through our economic and socio-cultural cooperation and exchanges,” the veteran legislator said.

“Our interparliamentary relations are central in strengthening our bilateral ties. To this end, I applaud the National Assembly of Vietnam for being our steadfast partners in improving our bilateral cooperation in tourism, education, trade and investments, defense and security, and agriculture and fisheries, to name a few,” the seasoned lawmaker added.

The resolution was principally authored by Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, President of the Philippines-Vietnam Parliamentary Friendship Association, formerly headed by Senate President Pro-Tempore Loren Legarda.

After the adjournment of the session, members of the Senate proceeded to a bilateral meeting with the Vietnamese delegation, to further discuss cooperation between the countries.

Vuong emphasized that in the face of rapid and complicated developments in the region, Vietnam and the Philippines must continue to strengthen cooperation–which is achievable as the two countries share similar strategic values. Indeed, the countries are each other’s sole strategic partners in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

“Vietnam stands ready to not only export, but also import supplies from the Philippines.”

He also articulated that Vietnam stands ready to not only export, but also import supplies from the Philippines, and that they are looking forward to increased trade partnerships and investments as well.

Zubiri, for his part, expressed the Senate’s desire to learn more about Vietnam’s policies and programs, which allowed for them to become a regional powerhouse in a short span of time.

This includes the need for the Philippines and Vietnam to exchange further research and technologies in agriculture, particularly in rice farming–a major point of trade between the two countries.

Tourism was also a highlight during the discussion, with both parties eager to strengthen the sector in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The senator also highlighted how Vietnam and the Philippines are “ASEAN brothers” who have to help each other protect their sovereignty from threats outside the ASEAN, stressing that it has been the policy of the Philippines to share waters with and be welcoming to Vietnamese fishermen.

Vuong agreed that safety and security is a matter of great cooperation.

Along with Vuong, the delegation was composed of 11 other members of the National Assembly, along with the Vietnamese Ambassador to the Philippines, Hoang Huy Chung.

On the Senate’s part, Zubiri was joined at the meeting by Legarda, Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, Minority Leader Koko Pimentel, and Senators Imee Marcos, Ronald “Bato” del Rosa, Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, Bong Go, JV Ejercito, Pia Cayetano, Win Gatchalian, and Francis Tolentino.

The following day, Zubiri and Vuong led the Forum on Vietnam-Philippines Trade Promotion and Investment Link, where the Vietnamese delegation had a meeting with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to discuss avenues for strengthened cooperation in trade. Hue remarked that it is the largest trade forum for the Philippines and Vietnam.

“With our laws such as the Ease of Doing Business Act, the Public Services Act, the Foreign Investments Act, and the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, we hope to invite more Vietnamese investors to the Philippines,” Zubiri said.

“Likewise, this forum will also give Vietnam an opportunity to invite Philippine investors to enter Vietnam.”

“My hope is that by working together, we will both be able to strengthen our positions as tourist and investment hotspots in the Southeast Asian region. With our mutual successes, we can really become leading forces in the ASEAN.”

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