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Zubiri: Senate Welcomes Vietnamese National Assembly Delegation for their Interparliamentary Visit

PHILIPPINES, November 24 - Press Release
November 24, 2022

Senate Welcomes Vietnamese National Assembly Delegation for their Interparliamentary Visit

On Wednesday, 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 interparliamentary 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 Juan Miguel "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 Hue, 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," said Zubiri 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."

"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 resolution was principally authored by Sen. 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 Wednesday's session, members of the Senate proceeded to a bilateral meeting with the Vietnamese delegation, to further discuss cooperation between the countries.

Hue 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.

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, that allowed for them to become a regional powerhouse in a short span of time. This includes the need for 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.

Zubiri 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 is has been the policy of the Philippines to shares waters with and be welcoming to Vietnamese fishermen.

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

Along with Hue, the delegation was composed of eleven 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 Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, Minority Leader Koko Pimentel, and Sens. Imee Marcos, Ronald "Bato" del Rosa, Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, Bong Go, JV Ejercito, Pia Cayetano, Win Gatchalian, and Francis Tolentino.

On Thursday, Zubiri and Hue 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."