Government officials from Ho Chi Minh City met with 250 religious dignitaries, worshippers and representatives of ethnic minority groups on April 19 in order to honour their contributions to the fight for national independence and development.

The event was held ahead of the 40th anniversary of South Vietnam’s liberation and national reunification.

Reviewing the city’s achievements over the last four decades, Politburo member and Secretary of the municipal Party Committee, Le Thanh Hai, hailed the work of ethnic minority people and religious followers, especially their local social and humanitarian activities.

They have raised billions of dollars each year for scholarship funds, house building programmes and free medical check-ups and treatment for the underprivileged, he said. Many of them have been rewarded as part of the national drive to “Study and follow late President Ho Chi Minh’s moral example”.

Hai expressed his belief that now these outstanding individuals will step up their social, cultural and economic activities yet further in order to turn HCM City into the economic, financial, commercial and hi-tech hub of Vietnam and the Southeast Asian region.

Phu Van Han, who is an ethnic Cham, said the city has assisted his people in eliminating poverty and seeking education, while facilitating their cultural and religious activities. Many current members of the Vietnam Fatherland Front’s committees at different levels are Cham people.

Monk Danh Lung from the Khmer group also thanked the municipal authorities for supporting their cultural and religious activities over the past decades.-VNA