VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 17

HCM City sends health workers to aid other localities in COVID-19 combat

HCM City sends health workers to aid other localities in COVID-19 combat hinh anh 1

Leaders of the Thong Nhat Hospital and members of its team pose for a photo before leaving for Ninh Thuan province.

Medical workers from the Cho Ray and Thong Nhat hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City have left for Ca Mau and Ninh Thuan provinces to help with the COVID-19 fight there.

The team from the Thong Nhat Hospital on October 16 departed for central Ninh Thuan province, where the pandemic has got worse over the past few days. They also brought along equipment and medicine necessary for treating patients in critical conditions.

Director of the Thong Nhat Hospital Le Dinh Thanh said the team will stay in Ninh Thuan until the coronavirus outbreak in the central province is basically brought under control.

Meanwhile, the team from the Cho Ray Hospital went to the southernmost province of Ca Mau on October 15.

Apart from treating COVID-19 patients, they will also provide advice and training for local health workers.

HCM City sent medical personnel to assist other localities after its pandemic situation has basically been stabilised.

In the previous outbreaks, it deployed a large number of health personnel to help provinces and cities nationwide in COVID-19 prevention, control, and treatment./.

Comic book illustrated by Vietnamese young female artist published in Japan

The comic book Ehon "Friends" illustrated by local female artist Dom Dom has just been published by Japan’s Sunny Side Publishing House.

The Vietnamese version of "Friends" was originally published in Vietnam in 2020. Japanese writer Aihara Hiroyuki highlighted the beautiful Vietnamese landscapes and its people, stating that they typically have optimistic, vibrant, and warm personalities.

He went on to express his keen interest in Dom Dom paintings which feature the image of Japanese people through the calm Brown Bear and the Vietnamese people via the image of brave Mun Cat.

Furthermore, he added his hope that children of both countries will enjoy a strong bond with each other, just like the friends in the story. 

Immediately after the release of the Japanese edition, the author Hiroyuki went to the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan to present this book to Ambassador Vu Hong Nam.

Upon receiving the gift, Ambassador Nam expressed his joy and hope that this wonderful book will be read by many Japanese children who will be inspired to make friends with other Vietnamese children through the book.

Dom Dom is the pen name of Vu Thuy Ngoc Ha, a Vietnamese female artist specialising in illustrating children's books and comics.

Some of her illustrations have since been published, including "The Straw Prince", "Father's Hand", "Jenny's Adventures in the Gluttony Kingdom", and "This and That Story".

Dom Dom won first prize in the Scholastic Picture Book Award 2019 through the work "The Girl on the roof and the Boy on the beach".

This book is also newly published by Scholastic, a publishing group that has existed for more than 100 years in the United States.

Japanese writer Aihara Hiroyuki is the author of more than 100 books of Ehon and co-monologues that are highly popular in Japan.

PM presides meeting on government - trade union working relations

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on October 16 presided over a meeting on the working relations between the government and the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour in 2021 and orientations for the next year.

Confederation President Nguyen Dinh Khang said that in the first 9 months of this year, amid the complex development of the COVID-19 pandemic, the trade union has been going along with the government and firms in the pandemic fight and care for workers affected by the pandemic.

The confederation asked the government and the PM to direct relevant ministries and sectors, local authorities on a number of issues such as ensuring the interests and social welfares of the workers.

The government’s office said the cabinet and the confederation have been collaborating well in contributing to achieving the goal of socio-economic development and protection of legal and legitimate rights of the workers. The government, the PM, the ministries and sectors, and local authorities have issued many policies on goods supply, social welfare and job creation in support of the people and firms affected by the pandemic.

Participants discussed the outcomes of the collaboration, orientations, tasks and measures to improve the relations in the time to come.

PM Chinh spoke highly of the active response by the trade unions and workers to the pandemic fight. For the time to come, he asked them to continue going along with the whole country in the fight and economic recovery./.

Six Vietnam resorts among Asia's 25 best: Condé Nast Traveler

Vietnam has six representatives among the top 25 resorts in Asia in this year's annual Readers' Choice Awards voted by readers of British magazine Condé Nast Traveler. 

With an overall score of 99.08 out of 100, Six Senses Ninh Van Bay in the central province of Khanh Hoa ranked fifth on the list.

Located on Ninh Van Bay in Ninh Hoa District, around 60 kilometers from Nha Trang, the resort consists of 54 villas covering an area of lush greenery.

Azerai Can Tho resort in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho stood at 13th position with an overall score of 97.9.

JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa on Phu Quoc Island in the southern province of Kien Giang ranked 16th with a score of 97.2.

With an overall score of 96.35, InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort in Da Nang City occupies 20th position.

The five-star Topas Ecolodge resort in popular tourist town Sa Pa ranked 24th on the list with a score of 94.29 while The Anam resort in Nha Trang beach town finished the list with a score of 93.76./.

HCM City schools disinfected, prepare for reopening when authorities say the word

Many schools in HCM City that were used as COVID-19 treatment and quarantine facilities are now being disinfected and cleaned in preparation for resumption of classes.

Phạm Đăng Khoa, head of the District 3 education and training division, told Sài Gòn Giải Phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) newspaper that in his district Colette Secondary School and Nguyễn Thị Diệu High School had been used as COVID facilities but no longer, and health workers have disinfected them.

School staff are now cleaning and rearranging furniture and teaching equipment, according to Khoa.

Trần Khắc Huy, his Tân Bình District counterpart, said two schools, Hoàng Hoa Thám Secondary School and Lê Thị Hồng Gấm Primary School would be used for quarantine until month end, but others were being cleaned and repaired to be ready for opening when allowed.

In Bình Tân District, 66 schools were used for COVID, and 57 still are.

Because of the large number of patients in the district, the latter will be used until October 25.

The Department of Health plans to stop using all schools by October 25.

Other districts such as District 8 and 12 are also preparing to reopen.  

From now until early January when students will return to school, education divisions across the city will work with health officials to speed up vaccination for students aged 12 to 17.

Many people in the city are keen to have their children vaccinated before schools resume.

The Ministry of Health has instructed health departments and epidemiology institutes across the country like Pasteur to start immunising children as soon as possible.

When children return to school, they will also be required to comply with the ministry’s 5k requirements - khẩu trang (face masks), khử khuẩn (disinfection), khoảng cách (distancing), không tụ tập (no gatherings), and khai báo y tế (health declarations).

Dương Trí Dũng, deputy head of the city Department of Education and Training, said the Cần Giờ District People’s Committee wanted students in grades 1, 2, 6, 9, and 12 at the Thạnh An Primary School and Thạnh An Secondary and High School to return to classes on October 20.  

If things prove safe, the People’s Committee would allow other students too to return to school.

It asked parents if they agreed to send their children to the two schools, and more than 90 per cent concurred.

The kids of the remaining 10 per cent will continue to study online.   

The department had wanted the trial to begin on October 11, but the Department of Health required the district to fully comply with COVID prevention protocols first, and so the start was slightly delayed. 

Ho Chi Minh City officially reopens to tourists

Ho Chi Minh City has officially reopened to welcome back tourists, with the local market set to play a key role in connecting localities whilst developing inter-regional routes and safe destinations under its tourism recovery roadmap.

The move comes following the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism announcing a scheme on October 16 in order to implement a plan aimed at restoring the southern city's tourism sector whilst safely adapting to COVID-19 pandemic.

The move will see the launch a programme which will issue 100,000 vouchers for frontline workers, while simultaneously signing a co-operation agreement between various tourism enterprises and destinations.

Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism, revealed that the city's tourism industry will deploy a number of local tours throughout October and work alongside neighbouring localities to prepare inter-provincial tourism activities ahead in November.

She noted that a draft project has already been formulated in a bid to welcome international tourists in 2022, with the hope being that the city's tourism sector will be fully restored next year.

At present, various localities and businesses have recommended the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism formulate a set of tourism safety criteria that can be applicable to the entire country.

Nguyen Asia, general director of Oxalis Company, revealed that he took a flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Quang Binh on October 15 in order to prepare to welcome the first group of six tourists from the city to Chay Lap Farmstay and the Oxalis tour following several months of suspension due to COVID-19 pandemic.

This represents a positive sign for the return of local tourism firms, especially the resumption of inter-provincial tours, he said, adding that the tour is being carried out in the form of a closed route as a means of ensuring the safety of visitors.

Local tour operator Vietravel went on to reveal that it will bring back more than 30 tour offices and travel services nationwide in line with the Government's Resolution aimed at adapting flexibly and safely to the new normal.

He explained that Vietravel has also worked alongside other localities in a bid to launch a series of tourism products which aim to serve tourists whilst meeting the safety criteria set out by the Ministry of Health.

In October, Vietravel will primarily focus on tours to green areas, such as Can Gio district in Ho Chi Minh City and tours under the Staycation model to Vung Tau and Tay Ninh. This is along with repatriation tours to welcome Vietnamese people back home or experts coming to the nation to work.

Moving forward to November, the company will expand inter-regional products by road from Ho Chi Minh City to Phan Thiet, Nha Trang, Da Lat, and the western region, as well as tours via air routes which will focus popular tourism sites such as Phu Quoc, Quy Nhon, Da Nang, Hue, and Ha Long.

Travel firms are therefore being encouraged to develop fresh tourism products in the direction of closed tours, with a focus on eco-tourism, healthcare tourism, outdoor sightseeing, and unique experiences of local culture.

Tran The Dung, general director of Fiditour Travel Company, also underlined the need to quickly devise a set of safety criteria which can be put into place throughout the whole nation to rapidly restore the local tourism industry.

HCM City enters brighter chapter after pandemic

After nearly two weeks of reopening, many locals in HCM City say they are enjoying the “new normal” life.

Ngọc Ánh, 28, told Việt Nam News that she had never realised how delicious a cup of coffee at her favourite cafe could be.

“I’ve been drinking instant coffee every morning for the last three months. It got to the point where I had forgotten the smell of fresh coffee beans. Now that I’m able to order coffee and on sunny days take a ride to my favorite cafe for takeaways, I feel extremely grateful,” she said.

Ánh, who is staying in District 2, said that not many people in her neighbourhood are out on the streets, even during peak hours.

“I think I can understand why. We are all afraid and very much aware that unnecessary trips outside can cause unwanted COVID-19 infections and outbreaks. Even though it initially took me by surprise, I’m happy that we are all on the same page on epidemic control and prevention,” Ánh said.

Thành Thái, 45, said that he had finally been able to have a haircut.

“I’ve been waiting for this day for so long. Who would have thought that having a haircut could be a luxury? On the first day of October when HCM City reopened, I quickly booked a slot with my barber. I have had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so I am confident going out," Thái said.

Getting a haircut has also been on many people’s to-do lists.

Many barber shops and hair salons have announced on their Facebook Pages that they are fully booked until late October. Due to social distancing rules, all barber shops have been operating at 50 per cent capacity and most customers have to book in advance to secure a slot.

A barber in Bình Thạnh District said that he felt relieved to be able to open his shop after many months of lockdown.

“Although business is not as good as it was before, I’m grateful that life is gradually getting back to normal,” he said, adding that he felt lucky that his customers still remembered him.

Gratitude has been on many people’s minds. Compared to months ago when people could casually hang out and talk about anything, being able to keep in touch and know that others are still healthy has been good enough.

As businesses open up, office workers are worried about the new work schedule. While some are excited to be fully back at work, many are concerned about the potential spread of coronavirus at the workplace.

“5K rules are a must! But I can’t help but feel unsure after being called for offline work four days a week,” Thanh Tùng, 32, said.

Duy Anh, a banker, said that he had become familiar with the online work mode. 

“Days at home have taught me that as long as we set a clear agenda with realistic targets and action plans, our work efficiency will be relatively the same both offline and online,” he said.

Duy Anh now visits the office twice a week to do some paperwork.

“I just had a conversation with a friend in the Human Resources department at another company and he told me that a large number of employees at his company actually prefer working from home to working at the company,” he said, adding that employees’ hesitation to be back at work is understandable, considering that the pandemic is not over yet.​

Meanwhile, Quỳnh Thơ has a slightly different view, saying that the lockdown has introduced a new way of working.

"It does not necessarily replace the traditional offline mode but instead has created an opportunity for employees to re-evaluate their perception of work and provided them with the flexibility to better thrive."

“Online and offline modes of work should go hand in hand with equal focus. We cannot completely avoid offline interactions, regardless of the ongoing pandemic. It is more important to be mindful of the current situation, vaccinate, and always try to take good care of ourselves,” she added.

The pandemic has left many locals with life struggles, but they are trying to enjoy every little moment in life. All are glad that HCM City has gradually recovered from gloomy days.

“We all need to seek positivity to live a quality life. Even though I had to switch from selling clothes to vegetables and lost a significant amount of income, I’m grateful that I’m still healthy enough to go on to the next page,” Thu Trang, 45, said.

HCM City is not the same as it used to be, but the "new normal" life will definitely be a brighter chapter.

Photo contest featuring people in COVID-19 fight launched

Amateur and professional photographers nationwide are encouraged to participate in a photo contest capturing Vietnamese people in the COVID-19 fight, has been launched by the HCM City Photography Association.

The contest, Việt Nam Sẽ Chiến Thắng (Việt Nam Will Win), aims to highlight doctors, nurses, health workers and soldiers in the battle against COVID-19. Themes of love, unity, mercy, energy and belief are also included. 

The organiser welcomes photos on the culture and lifestyle of ethnic minority groups. Beautiful images of HCM City and its people in daily life are also included. 

Panoramic and freestyle photos in colour, black and white are encouraged. Traditional methods and photoshopped photos are accepted. 

“From the contest’s photos, we hope to highlight the Vietnamese spirit in fighting against the virus spread,” said a representative of the association.  

All entries should have been taken after 2020. They can be a single photo or a group of photos (no more than 10) with informative captions.

The winning photos will be exhibited in HCM City. 

The jury includes Đoàn Thị Thơ, Nguyễn Minh Tân and Lý Hoàng Long, members of the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP). 

The organiser will give a total of 12 prizes worth VNĐ200 million (US$9,000). 

Photographers can send their works before December 5 to the organiser at 122 Sương Nguyệt Ánh Street, District 3, HCM City.

Plenty of room for expanding Vietnam-Germany relations: Deputy FM

A seminar has been co-held by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam and Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Vietnam-Germany Strategic Partnership (October 2011 – 2021).

It provided a forum for Vietnam and Germany to look back on what they have achieved over the last 10 years, identify opportunities and challenges in the coming time for both sides to deepen their strategic ties, and make policy recommendations on bilateral cooperation, thus contributing to the implementation of the Strategic Action Plan for the 2022 – 2023 period.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Foreign Minister To Anh Dung said the establishment of the Vietnam-Germany Strategic Partnership marked a milestone in the two countries’ relations. After a decade, the two nations have made significant progress in many areas and there is still plenty of room for the bilateral ties to thrive further, he said.

Economic cooperation has become a main pillar in the bilateral ties as Germany remains Vietnam’s top trade partner in the EU while Vietnam has evolved into Germany’s largest trade partner in Southeast Asia.

They have also made various achievements in other major areas, such as education, cultural-social affairs and development cooperation.

Germany has also donated nearly 3.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and tonnes of medical supplies to aid Vietnam’s COVID-19 fight, he said, noting that it demonstrates the growing friendship between the two countries./.

Indoor dining and other activities to resume in Đà Nẵng

Restaurants, coffee shops, gyms, yoga, billiards clubs, cinemas and museums will reopen in the central city on Saturday, October 16, as no new community COVID-19 cases have been found in 14 consecutive days.

The city’s People’s Committee said only beauty salons, massage parlours, bars, casinos, public internet and game service would remain closed.

Hòa Bắc Commune in Hòa Vang District will be the first school to reopen its doors from October 18. All schools in the city will begin the 2021-22 school year from November 1.

Restaurants and coffee shops can offer sit-in services with 50 per cent capacity, provided all customers show their QR Code heath declarations at the entrance. 

The city plans to begin hosting foreigners, and overseas Vietnamese coming to Đà Nẵng for relatives or business purposes, from November. They will have to spend seven days in quarantine at assigned hotels before, followed by one week of home quarantine.

Following the city’s economic recovery plan, travel agencies could host international tourists as part of package tours at destinations including Bà Nà Hills, Thần Tài hot springs, Ngũ Hành Sơn (Marble Mountain) or Hội An ancient city. The trips would last from three to seven days.

The city also asked the government to approve a plan allowing visitors from countries and territories that have COVID-19 well controlled, such as Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Europe, the US, Australia, China and the Middle East countries.

According to the city’s tourism department, airlines from Korea and Russia have been in discussion with domestic tour operators about resuming tourism services in late 2021 or early 2022. 

Last month, markets, hotels, non-contact outdoor sports activities and public transport resumed operation.

Every resident of the city has been required to provide a QR declaration when travelling around the city from September 30.

COVID-19: 3,221 cases added to national count

Vietnam on October 16 reported 3,221 new infections of COVID-19, including 10 imported cases, according to the Ministry of Health.

The figure is 578 cases lower than the previous day.

HCM City detected the highest number of infections with 790, followed by Dong Nai province with 397 and Binh Duong province with 385.

The national tally now stands at 860,860, including 856,197 cases recorded since the outset of the fourth coronavirus wave in late April

The Ministry of Health also reported that 3,528 patients nationwide are in serious conditions, with 471 requiring invasive ventilation and 19 on life support (ECMO).

On the same day, the country saw 88 deaths from the disease. The death toll now hits 21,131.

A further 1,581 patients were given the all-clear, taking the total recoveries to 790,504

By October 15, the country had injected nearly 60.52 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with more than 17.62 million people now fully vaccinated./.

Heavy rains case landslides in Nghe An, Ha Tinh

Heavy rains have resulted in landslides in many areas in the central provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh.

Storm Kompasu has brought torrential rain to Nghe An and Ha Tinh over recent days.  

The rainy weather has damaged some roads in Duc Tho District’s Duc Lang Commune, including a 200-metre section of road in Vinh Yen village. This has affected nearly 50 households.

In Huong Son District’s Son Kim 1 Commune, a landslide has caused 1,000 cubic metres of soil and stones to fall onto a road to Cau Treo border gate. Local authorities have warned people of possible dangers when travelling through the area.

Landslides have been reported on National Highway 217B and roads 514, 516B, 522, 523C and 516.

A severe landslide previously occurred in September in the Nguoc Mountain area in Thanh Chuong District when hundreds of cubic metres of soil spilled onto a local road.

Because of the downpours, up to 1,035 out of 1,061 lakes and reservoirs in Nghe An are full with water. Many of them are in poor condition and need to be upgraded.

The same situation has also happened in many lakes and reservoirs in Ha Tinh. Ha Tinh is home to around 351 lakes and reservoirs. Among those, many need to be consolidated. The province has prepared a plan to evacuate 2,349 households with a total 8,024 people to ensure safety from coming storms.

In Thanh Hoa Province, 385 out of 610 irrigation reservoirs are full following the rain over recent days.

Hundreds of teachers asked to pay back allowance

Nearly 700 teachers in Đắk Nông Province are very concerned, as they have been asked to pay back an allowance totalling VNĐ5.5 billion (US$241,788) by November 29.

The money was wrongly given to teachers in Gia Nghĩa City last year.

The conclusion of the budget management inspection of the provincial Department of Finance showed that Gia Nghĩa City’s People’s Committee had wrongly spent roughly VNĐ5.6 billion (US$246,220) last year.

Of that, VNĐ5.5 billion was spent by the city’s Education and Training Office as an allowance for nearly 700 teachers at 31 public schools in 2020.

The money, which was from the State budget, was allocated to pay allowances according to the Ministry of Education and Training’s regulation No.6 issued on June 5, 2019.

Under the regulations, teachers who work for State-owned preschools and primary schools in disadvantaged areas, mountainous and island areas are given an additional sum of 50 per cent of their salary as an allowance every month.

Those who work for these types of schools in cities and towns receive an additional 35 per cent. 

Gia Nghĩa Township was marked as a disadvantaged area until it was upgraded into a city in early January 2020. Teachers in Gia Nghĩa were given an allowance of 50 per cent of their salary since 2005.

That means since 2020, teachers should only receive 35 per cent instead of 50 per cent.

The Department of Finance concluded that all schools spent an excess amount of 15 per cent of the budget and required them to pay the amount back within 30 days.

The amount to be repaid was estimated at VNĐ5.5 billion.

K’Toàng, teacher at Tô Hiệu Primary School in Đắk Nia Commune in Gia Nghĩa City, said he and his colleagues were shocked after being told the amount they would have to pay back.

“We are very shocked. The working conditions are difficult, the traffic remains a challenge and up to 60 per cent of students are from ethnic minorities with financial hardships,” he said.

He said he would have to pay back 15 per cent of the allowance, equivalent to about VNĐ10 million ($439).

A representative of the school said Gia Nghĩa was still a mountainous area with many difficulties. The population was sparse, and with a large number of ethnic minorities.

So, the application of the lower allowance level as that of other better-off cities and towns for Gia Nghĩa was not right, he said.

Phan Thị Hiếu, Deputy Director of the Department of Finance, said all documents of the central government and the provincial authority clearly defined Đắk Nông as a highland province and Gia Nghĩa City as a highland area.

Meanwhile, the regulations did not stipulate the level of allowance for teachers in highland areas. There were only two different allowance levels for plains, cities and towns, and mountainous, islands, and remote areas.

Hiếu said during the inspection process, the inspection team noted many unclear legal terms such as highland and mountainous areas.

Regarding the recovery of allowances for overspending, Hiếu said the schools could spend from their funds and gradually collect the money from teachers’ salaries to avoid impacting their lives.

A representative of the provincial Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee said Gia Nghĩa was identified as a highland area following the committee’s Decision No.172 issued on July 7, 2006.

Since then, there have been no updated documents for the decision, so Gia Nghĩa should be entitled to the same policy.

“Highland areas are the same as mountainous areas and we believe the payment of preferential allowances for teachers in Gia Nghĩa should be applied in the same way as for mountainous areas,” he said.

This is not the first time Đắk Nông Province has had troubles with the application of preferential allowances for teachers in Gia Nghĩa.

In the 2012 - 2013 academic year, the provincial Department of Finance sent a document to relevant ministries to inquire about the application of preferential allowances for teachers in Gia Nghĩa Town.

The official reply from the Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry of Finance said teachers in Gia Nghĩa would enjoy preferential subsidies for mountainous areas.

The leader of the Office of the National Assembly Delegation and the People's Council of Đắk Nông Province told Việt Nam News Agency that the conclusion of the provincial Department of Finance about the overspending of Gia Nghĩa City was ‘a bit hasty’ as ‘the legal basis was not very clear'.

The provincial People's Council would ask relevant units to clearly report the issue. The Delegation of the National Assembly of Đắk Nông Province would address the issue in the upcoming National Assembly session, he said. 

Quang Binh receives first tourists

The central Quang Binh Province, which is home to UNESCO-protected Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and the world's largest cave Son Doong, has just welcomed its first visitors after resuming tourism activities on October 15.

The first six domestic tourists arrived on Friday evening on a Vietnam Airlines flight from HCM City. They followed a three-day-two-night package tour organised by the Oxalis Adventure Company. The tour will take them to sites such as Chay Lap Farmstay and the Tu Lan cave system in Phong Nha-Ke Bang.

 

On October 15, Quang Binh received two flights from HCM City with nearly 100 passengers. To attract more visitors, local authorities have removed the mandatory quarantine regulations.

Tourists to the province would only be allowed to join tour packages with no more than 20 people and comply with pandemic prevention measures.

Besides Quang Binh, some other localities including Con Dao, Quang Ninh, Hoa Binh, Sapa, and Thanh Hoa have also opened their doors to fully vaccinated domestic tourists.

Tourists must be fully vaccinated, with the second dose administered at least 14 days before arrival or have a certificate showing they had recovered from Covid-19. They also need to show a negative Covid-19 test result using the PCR method within 72 hours before departure.

Seminar sheds light on Russia – ASEAN cooperation in Asia-Pacific

A seminar on Russia and ASEAN in Asia-Pacific: dynamics of cooperation, regional processes and global context was held in Moscow on October 15 to mark the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Russia-ASEAN dialogue relations and the 30th anniversary of their diplomatic ties.

The event was co-hosted by the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO)’s ASEAN Centre and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In an opening remark delivered virtually, Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivan Morgulov said expanding cooperation with ASEAN remains one of Russia’s priorities in Asia-Pacific, contributing to the regional stability and sustainable development.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Dang Minh Khoi, for his part, said in the ever-changing geopolitical context, more than ever Russia and ASEAN need to cooperate closely for the common interest. They must together maintain peace, security and stability; foster socio-economic development; and strengthen open and inclusive regional architecture and win-win partnership with ASEAN at the centre, he said.

The diplomat stressed that as an active and responsible ASEAN member and Russia’s comprehensive strategic partner, Vietnam always supports the European country to reinforce ties with ASEAN, highlighting that this has been consistent since the first day ASEAN and Russia established their diplomatic relations and will go on in the future.

The seminar, which took place on October 15 – 16, featured nine discussions held in person and via video teleconference. The discussions touch on current issues in the Russia – ASEAN cooperation, evaluate the status of the partnership and dialogue at the time of COVID-19, analyse the development motivations in Southeast Asia, and identify the main trends for political and economic development in each ASEAN member states./.

Provinces still imposing own COVID-19 regulations on travellers despite Health Ministry decision

Although the Ministry of Health no longer requires COVID-19 testing for people travelling between localities, except for from high-risk areas, the authorities of some provinces and cities are still checking test certificates at checkpoints.

As per the latest guidelines from the Health Ministry, testing is only required for those coming from red zones, locked-down areas or those with symptoms of COVID-19.

Those who have been fully vaccinated only need to take a test if asked to, for epidemiological tracing.

However, at checkpoints on the outskirts of Hà Nội, authorities are still checking travel permits and COVID testing certificates, Vietnamnet reported on Friday.

The northern province of Thái Nguyên is asking for rapid-test certificates, even from those travelling from green zones. 

Those entering Vinh City, in central Nghệ An Province, still need to present COVID recovery certificates or valid testing certificates if they have not received two doses of vaccine. Only those who have received two vaccine doses can pass through. Those with outdated test results must take rapid tests.

People who want to enter the central province of Quảng Trị need to show quick testing certificates. An Giang and Quảng Ngãi provinces also require testing certificates of drivers.

Northern Bắc Giang Province has adjusted its regulations following the Health Ministry’s instruction. Returnees from green, yellow and orange zones do not have to show testing certificates. Testing is only required for those showing signs of fever or coughing.

From 11 am on Thursday, the northern province of Quảng Ninh has also scrapped testing regulations.

In the Health Ministry’s new guidelines to manage the COVID-19 situation, the pandemic will be assessed based on three factors; the rate of new cases in the community, vaccine coverage and medical facilities’ treatment capacity.

The number of new cases in the community will be divided into four levels based on the World Health Organization’s guidance, based on weekly cases per 100,000 residents. Level One (green) will be for areas with fewer than 20; level Two (yellow) fewer than 50; level Three (orange) fewer than 150; and level Four (red) more than than 150 new cases.

Vietnam highlights importance of peaceful dialogue in Kosovo

Vietnam underscored the importance of dialogue and the search for long-term peace solutions for Kosovo during an UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) on October 15.

Ambassador Pham Hai Anh, Deputy Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN, welcomed the resumption of high-level dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade under European Union auspices, but expressed regret that the dialogue has yet to produce satisfactory results due to differences between the two sides.

He emphasised the importance of peaceful dialogue and the search for lasting solutions for Kosovo on the basis of international law, the UN Charter, and the UNSC’s Resolution 1244 on the deployment of international civil and security presence in Kosovo, for peace, stability and development of Belgrade, Pristina, the Balkans and Europe.

The diplomat urged the sides concerned to work harder to explore opportunities for high-level talks and implement reached agreements, especially the Brussels Agreements. He also acknowledged the UNMIK’s crucial role in the promotion of security and stability in the area, efforts to build trust among the communities in Kosovo and discussions with Belgrade and Pristina.

The UN Security Council, by its Resolution 1244 (1999), authorised the UN Secretary-General to establish an international civil presence in Kosovo – the UNMIK – in order to provide an interim administration for Kosovo under which the people of Kosovo could enjoy substantial autonomy./.

Moldovan President highly values Vietnam’s achievements

Moldovan President Maia Sandu spoke highly of Vietnam’s achievements while receiving Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Hong Thach who presented his credentials in Chisinau capital on October 14.

The host applauded the achievements Vietnam has obtained during its reform, economic development, regional and international integration, and improvement of people’s welfare.

She wished her guest a successful term to actively help strengthen and develop the friendship between the governments and peoples of the two countries.

Thach, who is also the ambassador of Vietnam to Ukraine, expressed his honour to assume his duty in Moldova, a small but beautiful country with rich history and culture.

The diplomat said both countries hold huge potential, and that he will exert utmost efforts to promote bilateral multifaceted ties, especially in economy and trade./.

Vietnam urges for children protection at UNSC Committee on South Sudan’s meeting

Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN, on October 15 chaired a meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC)’s Committee on South Sudan (Committee 2206) with Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba in attendance.

Quy, who is Chairman of the committee, highly spoke of the political-security progress in South Sudan since the transitional government was established, setting the scene for the protection of vulnerable people, including children.

South Sudanese children still face many challenges, he said, calling the country’s government and concerned parties to continue implement its joint action programme on child protection with the UN.

The diplomat also urged concerned parties in South Sudan to ensure children’s access to food, education and health care, and to further promote the reintegration programme for children recruited by armed groups.

He voiced his hope that the UN, its members, regional organisations and other international partners will continue providing support for South Sudan in its transition process, particularly in protecting the children.

Committee 2206, established pursuant to the UNSC’s Resolution 2206, is mandated to supervise the implementation of measures of the UNSC to enhance assurance of peace and security in South Sudan./.

Vietnam’s border guards take tougher actions against IUU fishing

Vietnam’s Border Guard force has undertaken strong measures to combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and prevent Vietnamese fishing boats from encroaching foreign waters over the last four years.

The move is part of the country’s concerted effort to soon remove the European Commission (EC)’s “yellow card” warning against its seafood products.

Among the measures, top priority has been given to educating fishermen and raising their awareness of IUU fishing and related regulations so as to heighten their sense of responsibility and stop them from illegally entering waters of other countries, Colonel Pham Xuan Dieu, Deputy Chief of Staff of the force, told the Vietnam News Agency.

The force has increased patrols and taken a tough hand on IUU fishing violations. Thanks to such efforts, 574 violators have been brought to light, with a total of 21.6 billion VND (948,531 USD) paid in administrative fines, Dieu said.

The force reported 33 violation cases, involving 51 vessels, in the first nine months of this year, down 7 cases and 12 vessels compared to the same period last year, he added.

The officer pointed out several reasons behind IUU fishing, such as declining marine resources in Vietnam’s waters and lack of legal knowledge among fishermen. There is also an increase in the number of those who arrange unlawful trips by Vietnamese fishing boats into foreign waters, he noted.

He urged for the introduction of stricter penalties against IUU fishing and the brokers; and for authorities to make a list of “high-risk” vessels to keep a close watch on them./.

Hanoi stops commuter, vehicle examination at pandemic checkpoints

Hanoi has stopped examining people and vehicles entering or exiting the city when they pass pandemic checkpoints, the municipal steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control said on October 15.

Traffic police now only stand guard at checkpoints to ensure traffic safety and deal with any problems arising.

Police and other forces like military, traffic inspectorate, and health authorities have maintained the operation of 54 pandemic checkpoints across Hanoi, including 21 on national highways and 33 on smaller roads connecting the city with other provinces, the steering committee said.

Over the past two weeks, Hanoi has recorded just four COVID-19 cases in the population of 8,367,300. Up to 98 percent of the local residents aged 18 and above have been given at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine.

Given this, the pandemic risk in the city now is assessed as low, which means Hanoi is a “green zone” and in the “new normal” status, according to the Hanoi Centre for Disease Control./.

Ample room remains to develop bilateral ties with Germany

The Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has collaborated with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) of Germany to organize a seminar to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Vietnam - Germany Strategic Partnership (2011-2021).

The seminar serves as a forum for both sides to review the numerous milestones achieved in over the past decade, whilst also identifying opportunities and challenges moving forward in a bid to further deepen the strategic partnership. This will serve to make policy recommendations on bilateral co-operation and practical contributions to the implementation of the Strategic Action Plan for the 2022 to 2023 period.

As part of his speech at the event, Deputy Foreign Minister To Anh Dung affirmed that the establishing of the Vietnam-Germany Strategic Partnership on October 11, 2011, was a historic milestone, thereby opening a new chapter in the relationship between the two countries.

After a decade of implementation, both nations have made great strides across multiple fields, while there remains plenty of room for both nations to carry forward bilateral relations, the local diplomat noted.

Political relations continue to be consolidated through delegation exchanges at all levels, along with high-level contacts at multilateral forums. Indeed, the two sides have closely co-ordinated and successfully promoted the upgrading of ASEAN-EU relations to a partnership.

Economic co-operation has also become a leading pillar as the Central European nation represents the leading Vietnamese trading partner in the EU, while the Vietnamese market has also risen to become Germany's largest trading partner in Southeast Asia.

Other important fields include such as education-training, culture-society, and development co-operation, with three key focuses on renewable energy, environmental protection, and vocational training, all of which have so far reaped tremendous achievements.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Germany's donation of nearly 3.5 million doses of vaccines and an array of other medical equipment and supplies to the nation is a testament to the growing friendship between the two countries.

According to Martin Thummel, deputy head of the Department of East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific region under the German Foreign Office, affirmed that the strategic partnership between over the past decade has been effectively implemented on both bilateral and multilateral levels.

In the context of a global strategy and many major changes after 10 years, both nations continue to share common interests of respecting international law, whilst also a keenness to maintain a rules-based order, along with ensuring global peace and security.

For Germany, the country represents one of its most important partners in ASEAN. As a result of this, strengthening ties with Vietnam is an important part of German policy towards the Indo-Pacific region, a strategy which is deployed on three pillars, namely prosperity, sustainability, and security.

Concerning joint political-security co-operation, participants said that the advantage of the bilateral relationship is the increasing political trust and the convergence of policies at a strategic level.

Most notably, the two sides have agreed on many regional and international issues, whilst also successfully establishing many co-operation mechanisms in the fields of economics, politics, science and technology, security-defence, and development co-operation.

German Ambassador to Vietnam Guido Hildner stated that the relationship between the two countries therefore boats huge potential for stronger development. Indeed, both sides need to continue to increase their strategic dialogue and the frequency of delegation exchanges at all levels so as to create a solid foundation for future ties.

With regard to multilateral co-operation, the two sides must continue to serve as a bridge connecting the EU to the ASEAN region, while working closely at the UN and Asian-Europe Meeting (ASEM) to promote priorities on dealing with climate change and building a rule-based order internationally.

One of the key talking points at the event focused on socio-economic co-operation between the two countries. Vietnamese Ambassador to Germany Nguyen Minh Vu affirmed that the economy represents a key and important field for both nations' development. This comes after the total bilateral trade turnover and total investment value between the two countries has grown rapidly in numerous areas where they have advantages over recent years.

Last year saw the nation surpass Singapore and Malaysia to become Germany's largest trading partner in Southeast Asia, with bilateral turnover reaching US$15 billion, along with the increasing shift of investment capital and high-quality human resources.

This can be viewed as the result of the effective application of two-way tariff removal efforts, especially the ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the establishment of the Joint Committee on Vietnam - Germany Economic Cooperation.

However, participants stated that economic relations between the two sides have not enjoyed a breakthrough growth in recent years. Indeed, bilateral trade has increased, but only accounts for roughly 0.3% to 0.4% of Germany's total trade, and less than Vietnam's trade with some other partners. In addition, German investment in the Vietnamese market is also modest and far below its full potential.

Therefore, they proposed that the two governments continue to promote effective dialogues at many levels, and revamp institutions toward creating an open and sustainable environment to welcome more waves of investment.

National target programme on socio-economic development in ethnic minority areas approved

A new national programme aims to improve the lives and livelihoods of ethnic minority groups in Việt Nam.

As part of the national target programme, approved by Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh, by 2025, ethnic minorities’ income will be double that of 2020.

The first stage will be rolled out in the 2021-25 period.

The overall objective is to exploit the potential and advantages of ethnic minority and mountainous areas, promote economic development, ensure social security, and put in place rapid and sustainable poverty reduction.

It hopes to gradually narrow the gap between the areas’ living standards and average income and the national average income, reduce the number of communes and villages with special difficulties and set up an inter-regional socio-economic infrastructure system.

The areas will receive better education, training and healthcare, markedly improving people's lives, raising the quantity and quality of State employees who are ethnic minorities, preserving and promoting ethnic minorities’ culture.

Gender equality and urgent issues facing women and children will be resolved as well as maintaining social order and safety, ensuring national border security, consolidating and strengthening the great national unity.

The programme aims to reduce the rate of poor households by more than three per cent per year, and all roads will be paved with asphalt or concrete. All schools and medical stations will be upgraded, and 99 per cent of households will have access to electricity.

Up to 90 per cent of ethnic minorities will have access to clean water and all have television or radio to receive information.

The programme hopes to move 60 per cent of ethnic minority households living in remote and isolated areas at risk of flash floods and landslides. Land shortages will also be resolved.

More than 98 per cent of five-year-old children will attend school. The rate of students at primary schools, junior secondary schools and high schools will be 97, 95 and 60 per cent, respectively.

As many as 98 per cent of ethnic minorities will be covered by health insurance and more than 80 per cent of pregnant women will receive periodic examinations. The rate of malnourished children will be under 15 per cent.

Under the programme, 50 per cent of ethnic minorities of working age will receive proper vocational training that is suitable to their aspirations and living conditions.

At least 3,250km of rural roads will be paved with asphalt or concrete. More than 268,860 households will get access to clean water.

More than 320 boarding schools, more than 1,100 day-boarding schools, seven reserve universities and three boarding high schools will get more teaching materials and equipment.

More than 17,400 households will receive land and more than 18,300 others receive houses.

The programme will offer vocational training to about 2.25 million people.

About 320 training courses on intangible culture will be organised and 200 projects on traditional culture, which are at risk of disappearing, will be supported.

More than 5,000 poor students will get help to continue their studies every year.

Eighty villages will be used to promote tourism and 800 clubs for traditional culture will be founded.

More than 224,900 prestigious people in the community will be educated about necessary work related to ethnic minority affairs and 30,000 workers at the grassroots level will be taught IT skills. 

Vietnam calls for greater protection of children in South Sudan

Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, permanent representative of Vietnam to the UN, chaired a meeting on October 15 of the UN Security Council ’s Committee on South Sudan with Virginia Gamba, special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, in attendance.

Ambassador Quy, who is chairman of the committee, spoke highly of the political-security progress made in South Sudan since the transitional government was first established, setting the scene for the protection of vulnerable people, including children.

However, South Sudanese children still face numerous challenges, he said, calling on their government and concerned parties to continue implementing the joint action programme regarding child protection with the UN.

The local diplomat went on to urge all concerned parties in South Sudan to ensure children’s access to food, education, and health care, whilst further promoting the reintegration programme specifically set up to help children recruited by armed groups.

He therefore expressed his hope that the UN, its members, regional organisationsm and other international partners will continue to offer support for South Sudan in its transition process, particularly in terms of protecting the children.

The Committee on South Sudan (Committee 2206) was established in line with the the UN Security Council (UNSC)’s  Resolution 2206 and is mandated to supervise the implementation of measures of the UNSC aimed at enhancing the assurance of peace and security in South Sudan.

Meanwhile during an UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) the same day, Ambassador Pham Hai Anh, Deputy Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN, welcomed the resumption of high-level dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade under European Union auspices, but expressed regret that the dialogue has yet to obtain satisfactory results due to differences between the two sides.

He underlined the importance of peaceful dialogue and the search for lasting solutions for Kosovo on the basis of international law, the UN Charter, and the UNSC’s Resolution 1244 on the deployment of international civil and security presence in Kosovo, for peace, stability and development of Belgrade, Pristina, the Balkans and Europe.

Hai Anh called for greater efforts by concerned parties to explore opportunities for high-level talks and implement reached agreements, especially the Brussels Agreements. He also acknowledged the UNMIK’s crucial role in the promotion of security and stability in the area, efforts to build trust among the communities in Kosovo and discussions with Belgrade and Pristina.

The UN Security Council, by its Resolution 1244 (1999), authorised the UN Secretary-General to establish an international civil presence in Kosovo – the UNMIK – in order to provide an interim administration for Kosovo under which the people of Kosovo could enjoy substantial autonomy.

Campaign launched to promote values of cải lương

An art campaign has been launched to call on young people to spread the passion for Việt Nam’s traditional art form, cải lương (reformed opera).

The Cộng Đồng Kể Chuyện Cải Lương (Communities Tell Cải Lương Stories) is an activity under the Yume art project that is part of the Heritage of Future Past project, sponsored by the British Council.

According to late Professor Trần Văn Khê, known as the master of traditional Vietnamese music, cải lương means modifying to become better; therefore, the project raises the question of how to make the traditional art form continue and develop in the modern era.

Therefore, the campaign is aimed towards young people from 15 to 35 years old with an interest in cải lương.

The participants are encouraged to share their memories and showcase their passion for the art form in their own way via popular and accessible means and platforms such as podcasts, video clips, photography or graphics.

Other forms such as paintings or poems inspired by a cải lương plays, or interviews with the elderly about the art form are also accepted.

For videos or short films, the maximum duration is less than 15 minutes and the image quality is at least 720p, except for archive footage. Writing featuring stories, feelings and criticisms should be 700-1,500 words in length with specific font and font sizes specified by the organisers.

The award categories are divided into four categories: prize for documentary, prize for creativity, prize for communication and audience’s votes. The highest prize is worth VNĐ2.5 million (US$110) along with gifts from sponsors. The list of winners will be announced on December 23, 2021. 

Workers receive free COVID-19 rapid tests

Thousands of workers in industrial parks and export processing zones in HCM City have received free COVID-19 rapid tests.

The free tests have been offered by the Healthy Vietnam System (Hệ thống Việt Nam Khỏe Mạnh) which deploys technological solutions, including QR code scanning in testing and immunisation management.  

The platform offers electronic health declaration, test registration, sample taking and testing result management on a phone with QR codes.

It was developed by Sovico Group in cooperation with the Ministry of Health’s Information Technology Department and the Ministry of Information and Communications’ Authority for Information Technology Applications. 

Many businesses in the Tân Thuận Export Processing Zone in District 7 have registered for free COVID-19 rapid tests offered by Healthy Vietnam System, including Nikkiso Vietnam Co., Ltd. and Pepperl+Fuchs Vietnam Co., Ltd.

A representative of Tân Bình Industrial Park said dozens of thousands of workers in the industrial parks must be tested periodically.

The use of QR code scanning helps save costs and time for businesses, the representative said.

Kim May Organ Company in Tân Thuận Export Processing Zone, with nearly 500 workers receiving free COVID-19 rapid tests, is seeking a cooperation agreement with Sovico Group to conduct periodic tests for the company’s workers.

A representative of a company in District 7 said rapid COVID-19 tests for its 700 workers once a week are required to ensure a safe working environment. Technological solutions and competitive pricing are key factors in businesses' decision to use the system.

Since early this month, Sovico Group in coordination with health facilities has implemented a COVID-19 test programme with 2 million free test kits distributed to test sites around the city.

Shippers, workers at industrial parks and export processing zones, and traders at wholesale markets have been beneficiaries of the programme, which aims to help the resumption of production and trading activities in the city. 

Mekong Delta city, provinces seek economic recovery after COVID-19

Cần Thơ City and six provinces in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta region will take part in an online meeting on October 19 to enhance cooperation in pandemic prevention and control and economic recovery.

The meeting will be hosted by the Cần Thơ City’s People’s Committee and its Department of Planning and Investment.

The event will focus on cooperation in the key fields of health, agriculture, trade and services, information and communications, transport, and jobs and labour in Cần Thơ City and An Giang, Kiên Giang, Hậu Giang, Sóc Trăng, Bạc Liêu and Cà Mau provinces.

The localities will discuss support for treatment for COVID-19 patients, sharing of vaccines and medical essentials, and dissemination of guides on health treatment at clinics and hospitals in seven provinces and city.

They will also discuss promoting connections between manufacturers and suppliers and traders and trade promotion agencies. In addition, they will try to find ways to sell their specialties and agricultural products on online trading platforms.

Cần Thơ City and the six provinces aim to establish an economic entity, or a commodity market, to promote online trade and tourism.

They will create a priority lane for transport of medical equipment, essential goods and forces serving pandemic prevention and control, along with agricultural and aquaculture products and construction materials.

Passenger and goods transport, as well as logistics, in the region will also be enhanced.

The seven localities cover more than 24,100 square kilometres with a total population of 9.2 million.

According to the Ministry of Health, since the fourth wave, the Delta region has recorded more than 23,300 COVID-19 cases and 325 deaths.

The localities have controlled the outbreak and are returning to a new normal.

Hundreds of teachers asked to pay back allowance

Nearly 700 teachers in Đắk Nông Province are very concerned, as they have been asked to pay back an allowance totalling VNĐ5.5 billion (US$241,788) by November 29.

The money was wrongly given to teachers in Gia Nghĩa City last year.

The conclusion of the budget management inspection of the provincial Department of Finance showed that Gia Nghĩa City’s People’s Committee had wrongly spent roughly VNĐ5.6 billion (US$246,220) last year.

Of that, VNĐ5.5 billion was spent by the city’s Education and Training Office as an allowance for nearly 700 teachers at 31 public schools in 2020.

The money, which was from the State budget, was allocated to pay allowances according to the Ministry of Education and Training’s regulation No.6 issued on June 5, 2019.

Under the regulations, teachers who work for State-owned preschools and primary schools in disadvantaged areas, mountainous and island areas are given an additional sum of 50 per cent of their salary as an allowance every month.

Those who work for these types of schools in cities and towns receive an additional 35 per cent. 

Gia Nghĩa Township was marked as a disadvantaged area until it was upgraded into a city in early January 2020. Teachers in Gia Nghĩa were given an allowance of 50 per cent of their salary since 2005.

That means since 2020, teachers should only receive 35 per cent instead of 50 per cent.

The Department of Finance concluded that all schools spent an excess amount of 15 per cent of the budget and required them to pay the amount back within 30 days.

The amount to be repaid was estimated at VNĐ5.5 billion.

K’Toàng, teacher at Tô Hiệu Primary School in Đắk Nia Commune in Gia Nghĩa City, said he and his colleagues were shocked after being told the amount they would have to pay back.

“We are very shocked. The working conditions are difficult, the traffic remains a challenge and up to 60 per cent of students are from ethnic minorities with financial hardships,” he said.

He said he would have to pay back 15 per cent of the allowance, equivalent to about VNĐ10 million ($439).

A representative of the school said Gia Nghĩa was still a mountainous area with many difficulties. The population was sparse, and with a large number of ethnic minorities.

So, the application of the lower allowance level as that of other better-off cities and towns for Gia Nghĩa was not right, he said.

Phan Thị Hiếu, Deputy Director of the Department of Finance, said all documents of the central government and the provincial authority clearly defined Đắk Nông as a highland province and Gia Nghĩa City as a highland area.

Meanwhile, the regulations did not stipulate the level of allowance for teachers in highland areas. There were only two different allowance levels for plains, cities and towns, and mountainous, islands, and remote areas.

Hiếu said during the inspection process, the inspection team noted many unclear legal terms such as highland and mountainous areas.

Regarding the recovery of allowances for overspending, Hiếu said the schools could spend from their funds and gradually collect the money from teachers’ salaries to avoid impacting their lives.

A representative of the provincial Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee said Gia Nghĩa was identified as a highland area following the committee’s Decision No.172 issued on July 7, 2006.

Since then, there have been no updated documents for the decision, so Gia Nghĩa should be entitled to the same policy.

“Highland areas are the same as mountainous areas and we believe the payment of preferential allowances for teachers in Gia Nghĩa should be applied in the same way as for mountainous areas,” he said.

This is not the first time Đắk Nông Province has had troubles with the application of preferential allowances for teachers in Gia Nghĩa.

In the 2012 - 2013 academic year, the provincial Department of Finance sent a document to relevant ministries to inquire about the application of preferential allowances for teachers in Gia Nghĩa Town.

The official reply from the Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry of Finance said teachers in Gia Nghĩa would enjoy preferential subsidies for mountainous areas.

The leader of the Office of the National Assembly Delegation and the People's Council of Đắk Nông Province told Việt Nam News Agency that the conclusion of the provincial Department of Finance about the overspending of Gia Nghĩa City was ‘a bit hasty’ as ‘the legal basis was not very clear'.

The provincial People's Council would ask relevant units to clearly report the issue. The Delegation of the National Assembly of Đắk Nông Province would address the issue in the upcoming National Assembly session, he said. 

Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/SGGP/Nhan Dan

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