MANILA - Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Thursday thanked Vietnam for its “offer to guarantee rice shipments” to the Philippines during last year’s strict lockdown.
According to Hanoi, Locsin spoke on the phone with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son and discussed the 45th anniversary of Philippine-Vietnam bilateral relations, the 10th JCBC, and the Action Plan guiding the implementation of the Viet Nam-Philippines Strategic Partnership for the period 2019-2024.
“[I] thanked him for Vietnam’s offer to guarantee rice shipments to PH in lockdown last year making it hard for trucks in rice areas to come and go, raising threat of rice shortage & unrest. PH owes Vietnam big time," Locsin replied in a tweet.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar earlier said he received a letter from Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh of Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Development expressing Hanoi's commitment to honor its existing supply contracts with Philippine importers.
About 1.38 million tons of rice imported by Philippine traders were undelivered, including 1.25 million tons ordered from Vietnam, according to Dar.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on Tuesday his country needed to sell rice but exports must be controlled to ensure food security.
The Philippine plans to import 300,000 tons of rice to ensure sufficient domestic supply of the staple while it seeks to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the country.