18 July 2013- Ambassador Constancio R. Vingno Jr. presented his credentials as non-resident Ambassador to the Kingdom of Lesotho to His Majesty King Letsie III on July 04 at the Royal Palace in Maseru. He was accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Yoko Ramos-Vingno, and Embassy attaché Mr. Victor M. Atangan.
As he presented his credentials to King Letsie III, Ambassador Vingno conveyed the greetings of President Benigno S. Aquino III and thanked King Letsie for the warm hospitality accorded by the government of Lesotho to the Filipinos there who have considered the country their second home. He also emphasized that the Philippines is keen to pursue bilateral agreements on trade, mining and education to pave way for greater cooperation between the Philippines and Lesotho. King Letsie responded that the Philippines and Lesotho share a common interest and he believes that cooperation should be further strengthened for the realization of their common vision.
Prior to the presentation ceremony, the Ambassador had a conversation with Ambassador Humphrey Leteka, Chief of Protocol where he was briefed with the formalities concerning the ceremony of the presentation of credentials and other related matters. He mentioned to Ambassador Leteka the presence of Filipinos in Lesotho, the majority of whom have established stable careers and families in the country for more than a decade. Ambassador Leteka confirmed the information as he is acquainted with some of the Filipinos.
Ambassador Vingno also met with Lesotho government officials to discuss ways forward in expanding potential areas of cooperation between the Philippines and Lesotho.
The Ambassador met with Deputy Principal Secretary Thabang P. Lekhela of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations and discussed possible avenues that can be explored to advance bilateral cooperation between the Philippines and Lesotho. Mr. Lekhela welcomed the Ambassador’s call on him and opened the discussion by recalling how the Philippines, through its labor resource, contributed in its own way in the development of Lesotho’s economy. Likewise, the Ambassador emphasized the need to boost trade for both countries and that bilateral relations should be enhanced with a consultative commission.
Ambassador Vingno also met with Foreign Affairs Minister Mohlabi Kenneth Tsekoa who noted the excellent relationship between the Philippines and Lesotho through the years. The Minister cited the recent growth of the Philippine economy through the efforts of the current government and accentuated the need to enhance trade. Ambassador Vingno stressed that the growth in economy of the Philippines can be attributed to the Philippine government’s continued efforts to combat corruption, develop infrastructure and alleviate poverty.
In his meeting with Prime Minister Dr Motsoahae Thomas Thabane, Ambassador Vingno expressed his gratitude for the Kingdom of Lesotho’s continuous protection of Filipino nationals working in Lesotho. He also commended the country’s interest in eradicating poverty by fighting corruption.
The Prime Minister congratulated the Philippine government’s effort to combat corruption and also stressed that there is a need to further strengthen the relationship of the Philippines and Lesotho. He then commended Filipino volunteer teachers who have helped in the government of Lesotho’s program to educate their youth.
During the visit, Ambassador Vingno had informal talks with Director Matete P. Nene of the Directorate of Asia and Pacific Realm and recommended the signing of a Bilateral Consultative agreement and a visa waiver agreement for holders of Diplomatic and Official passports. Director Nena replied that a visa waiver agreement would be beneficial to diplomats and government officials of both countries in easing travel between the two countries.
Ambassador Vingno thanked Director Nena for the opportunity to have discussions with him even under informal setting. Director Nena assured the Ambassador of the Ministry’s support and full assistance in facilitating the bilateral projects and programs of the Philippines with Lesotho.
The Ambassador likewise met with members of the Filipino community and led the consular team which processed a total of 20 passports and four notarial services. END