Annually, when the Lunar New Year festival (Tet) is coming, the Vietnamese Embassy in the Philippines gathers OVs who are living, working and studying in the country. The meeting offers a good chance for them to meet and to improve unity within the community.

The year of 2017 witnessed considerable development in the bilateral ties. They regularly held meetings and closely worked together to make contributions to the successes of APEC 2017 and ASEAN 2017 as Vietnam and the Philippines are the chairs, respectively.

Last year, General Ngo Xuan Lich, member of the Politburo, Deputy Secretary of the Central Military Commission and Defense Minister, paid an official visit to the Philippines, marking a new milestone in the bilateral strategic partnership.

Vietnamese Ambassador to the Philippines Ly Quoc Tuan (fourth from left) and other delegates at the gathering

Additionally, Vietnam and the Philippines enjoyed sound development in fields of trade, culture, education and training, and people-to-people exchanges.

Ambassador Tuan underlined that the Vietnamese community has made considerable contributions to these aforementioned achievements. At present, only 2,000 Vietnamese people are living or working in the Philippines, the Vietnamese community has well performed the people-to-people external affairs, along with the State foreign affairs, to boost the bilateral cooperation and friendship.

Moreover, the OVs effectively popularized information of Vietnam’s landscapes, people, culture, and traditions to Filipino people, Tuan added.

Over the past time, the Vietnamese Embassy in the Philippines has become a “common house” for the OVs to cultivate their patriotism and also the place where the civilian rights and interests of the Vietnamese residents in the Philippines are protected. The Vietnamese Ambassador affirmed that the embassy always gives top priority to serving the Vietnamese community. Particularly, the embassy encourages the OVs to return home to do business, supports the OVs’ business in the Philippines, mobilizes the OVs to preserve and uphold the traditional cultural identities, fosters Vietnam firms’ penetration into the Filipino market, and further disseminates the Vietnamese Party’s and State’s guidelines and policies to the OVs.

In order to ensure the OVs’ benefits, the embassy has streamlined admin procedures, proactively supported the OVs in need, instructed the OVs to strictly follow local laws, and closely worked with the Philippines' relevant agencies to address any issues related to Vietnamese nationals. As a result, the year of 2017 saw the lower number of Vietnamese fishermen detected or seized for illegal fishing in the Philippines’ waters than previous years.

Because the Southern Philippines has been suffering from conflicts, the embassy actively sent missions to visit and encourage the OVs living in or near those areas for support.

In his speech at the get-together, Ambassador Tuan restated Great President Ho Chi Minh’s teaching, “One tree amounts to nil/ Three trees huddled sprout a mound of hill,” whereby he appealed the Vietnamese community in the Philippines to continue to consolidate solidarity, better do business to contribute to the local socio-economic development, and further contribute to the Vietnam-Philippines friendship.

Translated by Van Hieu