President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday met with some 150 Filipinos working in Vietnam and gave solutions to two of their concerns at the Grand Plaza Hotel here.
The concerns, as mentioned by Jun Torres of the Samahang Pinoy in Vietnam, were the recent closure of the Philippine consulate in Ho Chi Minh and the strengthening of the peso.
Torres stressed the need to reopen the Philippine Consulate in Ho Chi Minh so it can attend to the needs of Filipinos residing or working in the southern part of Vietnam.
“If there is reason, why not?,” the President said adding that the reopening will not happen overnight and that a study will have to be conducted.
There are around 3,500 to 4,000 Filipinos in Vietnam, the bulk of which are in Ho Chi Minh. Most of them are professionals and are held in high esteem by the locals, according to Philippine Ambassador to Vietnam Jerill Santos.
As to the further strengthening of the peso, the President made an assurance that the peso may stabilize within the present level.
Recognizing the fact that overseas Filipino workers are affected by the strong peso, the President stressed that one of the priorities of his administration is to create more jobs, so that working abroad will no longer be a matter of necessity but rather a career choice.
“What we want is a stable peso. The intervention of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in the market is needed to preserve the value of the peso,” the Chief Executive said adding that the government is in a position to do such because of high gross national reserves.
The President also informed the Filipinos here of the achievements of his new administration particularly in eradicating corruption.
He assured them that the Aquino Administration will work hard to improve the lives of the people.
“Ang focus natin ay para sa bansa hindi para sa bulsa. We will do what we have to do,” he said.