Speech of Senator Loren Legarda 2nd Philippines-Korea Partnership Forum

December 5, 2011

The Philippines and Korea have a long history of partnership, with Filipinos dedicating their lives in Korea’s struggle for freedom.
The Korean War in its broadest sense was a crucial battle for the Republic of Korea (ROK) as a nation; but with regard to its bilateral relations with the Philippines, it served as the foundation of a friendship, which was solidified by constant partnership in various circumstances and which both nations continue to enjoy.
The deployment to South Korea of 7,420 Filipino soldiers that formed the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK) as part of the UN-led 16-nation coalition, which aided the then new Republic in its defense against the invasion of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), signaled the start of an alliance.
This partnership both our countries continue to nurture in different aspects. Korea has been one of the top trading partners of the Philippines with the value of trade between the two nations reaching US$3.97 Billion for the period January-August 2010. Korea is also a leading Foreign Direct Investor (FDI) in the Philippines.
The Republic of Korea has also been helping the Philippines through military modernization, provision of development funds, enhancing agriculture cooperation, and assistance in achieving a disaster-resilient green development in the country.
I take exceptional notice of the efforts of both nations in strengthening people-to-people relations, which is the main theme of this forum. It is with certainty that a partnership fortified by good relations between the citizens of two nations is meant to last.
This people-to-people relations is important to improve mutual understanding, especially that there are 47,241 Filipinos in the South Korea as of December 2010 and almost half of this number is under the Employment Permit System of the Republic of Korea. On the other hand, more and more Koreans are visiting the Philippines and many have decided to stay permanently in the country. In 2010, there were 740,622 South Korean visitors in the Philippines and there are currently more than 115,000 Koreans permanently residing here.
As Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I am happy to note that the Philippines and the Republic of Korea continue to engage in ways to improve bilateral ties.
I thank and congratulate the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines, the Ateneo Center for Asian Studies, and the Asian Center of the University of the Philippines for organizing this 2nd Philippines-Korea Partnership Forum.
Our respective citizens have more to discover and understand with regard to the other nation�s ways, culture and tradition, but our openness to go beyond the partnership that we currently have will unlock more opportunities for our people and lead both our countries to a clearer path of further growth and progress.
Thank you.