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PH, Vietnam to sign maritime deal during Marcos visit to Hanoi

The Philippines and Vietnam will sign an agreement to strengthen maritime cooperation between the two countries.

Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesman Rear Admiral Armand Balilo on Tuesday confirmed to GMA News Online that the agreement would be signed during President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.'s state visit to Hanoi next week.

"We just discussed the proposed (Memorandum of Agreement) with the Vietnam Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Minh Vu during his visit at the PCG HQ this morning,” Balilo said in a message.

"It is more of environmental protection and search and rescue," Balilo added.

Further, Balilo said a hotline of communication between Manila and Hanoi's coast guards would be established to ensure the safety of fisherfolk.

In August last year, Marcos said he was looking forward to signing an agreement with Vietnam to strengthen maritime cooperation in the West Philippine Sea.

The President said the agreement would make it easier for the two countries to face the "common challenges" when it comes to territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Like the Philippines, Vietnam also claims portions of the region.

"I really believe that we have to make these bilateral agreements. I think you will not be surprised and I think I'm not giving away any confidence that we will like to have these bilateral agreements as well with the other countries within (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)," Marcos said.

Last week, Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. said a working draft for a rice trade agreement with Vietnam was already nearing completion.

Laurel said that the signing of the draft MOA or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the rice agreement was being targeted in time for Marcos' state visit to Vietnam this month. — VDV, GMA Integrated News