A partnership towards peace, prosperity in the region

June 12, 2024 - 08:11
June 12 this year marks the 126th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence and the establishment of the first constitutional republic in Asia.

On the 126th anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence, Ambassador Meynardo LB. Montealegre reflects on the progress of the Strategic Partnership between the Philippines and Việt Nam.

June 12 marks the 126th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence and the establishment of the first constitutional republic in Asia. Reflecting on the past year, several meaningful engagements have been successfully held between the Philippines and Việt Nam.

In 2023, we accomplished several important bilateral engagements notably the 10th Joint Working Group meeting on Maritime and Ocean Concerns, the first Foreign Policy Consultation meeting between the two Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the 10th Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation. Last year, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo was also afforded the opportunity to address the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV) in a policy speech focused on Philippines-Việt Nam Strategic Partnership in an Age of Change. This was a first for an incumbent ASEAN Foreign Minister in the history of the DAV.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (left) meets PM Phạm Minh Chính during his state visit to Việt Nam in January 2024. Photos Courtesy of the embassy

There were also several engagements between the Philippines and Việt Nam defence ministries aside from working visits by Philippines officials on various areas of interest. All these were made possible through the painstaking and thorough work of esteemed colleagues from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as relevant Ministries and officials of Việt Nam.

2024 began with an auspicious milestone: the state visit of H.E. President Ferdinand R. Marcos. It was a resounding success paving the way for the signing of important bilateral instruments on rice trade, cultural cooperation, coast guard activities and maritime cooperation. More exchanges are in the pipeline for the rest of 2024.

In the economic field, our bilateral trade has increased in 2023 as Việt Nam remains our vibrant trading partner especially for rice and other industrial goods. In 2023, Philippine exports of electrical, electronic machinery and equipment, tuna and tobacco to Việt Nam tripled in value.

Well-established Vietnamese brands are coming into the Philippines. Vinfast and Vietnam Airlines are now in the final stages of their arrangements for their full operations in the Philippines. VietJet, Việt Nam’s largest private airline, is also poised to join them soon.

Philippine companies in Việt Nam expanded providing good employment and business opportunities. The well-loved Philippine brand Jollibee has 190 stores all over Việt Nam aside from its investments in Highlands Coffee. Ayala and Aboitiz (renewable energy), San Miguel (brewery and food processing), Metro Pacific Investments (water distribution and infrastructure), Universal Robina Corporation, Rebisco, Liwayway Oishi, and Century Pacific (food and beverage), Green Cross and Unilab (pharmaceutical) are also thriving here.

2024 marks the 48th year of our diplomatic relations. Việt Nam remains as our twin brother in the ASEAN region with a similar economic size, demographic characteristics and for sharing a common history of struggle for independence and in forging similar paths towards economic growth. The Philippines and Việt Nam are like monoamniotic twins sharing the South China Sea as our common space for growth, our life-giving source for development and equally essential for our co-existence.

Ambassador Meynardo LB. Montealegre (fourth from the right) meets with Khánh Hòa Province Chairman, H.E. Nguyễn Tân Tuấn in July 2023.

But the resilience of our future will depend on how we deal with encompassing integrated issues: from climate change, disaster resilience and the preservation of our ecosystems, to the resilience of our supply chains, digital infrastructure and our connected markets and to ensuring the effectiveness of the functional mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation. Our countries’ joint efforts in these fields will sustain growth beneficial to all, especially the most vulnerable amongst our peoples.

Through the Philippines’ actions in different forums and avenues, we have demonstrated our commitment to be a force for good, a consistent advocate for peace and constructive dialogue and a staunch defender of the rules-based international order.

We, therefore, thank Việt Nam for its support to the Philippines as ASEAN candidate for the UN Security Council (term 2027-2028) and look forward to its support for the Philippines’ bid to host the Board of the Loss and Damage Fund for Developing Countries, fervent on the realisation that the vast sea that separates our two countries is also the area most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

The Philippine Embassy in Việt Nam truly appreciates the fruitful year that has passed. We are hopeful for more vibrant relations towards our common goals for the 10th year anniversary of Philippines-Việt Nam Strategic Partnership next year and the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic ties in 2026. VNS