House of Representatives

Filipino lawmakers commend ambassador for boosting PH-South Korea ties

Mara Cepeda
Filipino lawmakers commend ambassador for boosting PH-South Korea ties

PH-SOUTH KOREA TIES. Philippine House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco (2-L) and Filipino lawmakers present a resolution honoring outgoing Korean Ambassador Han Dong-man (C) on December 15, 2020.

Screenshot from the House of Representatives' Youtube account

The House of Representatives credits Ambassador Han Dong-man for fostering 'deeper people-to-people engagement' between the Philippines and South Korea

Filipino legislators honored outgoing South Korean Ambassador Han Dong-man for fostering stronger ties between the Philippines and South Korea in the past two years. 

During the plenary session on Tuesday, December 15, no less than Speaker Lord Allan Velasco presented to Han a copy of House Resolution (HR) No. 1405, which the chamber had adopted a week earlier. 

“It is fitting to recognize the contributions of outgoing ROK (Republic of Korea) Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Han Dong-man, who performed exemplary services in fostering not only stronger PH-ROK bilateral relations but also deeper people-to-people engagement between the Philippines and South Korea,” read the resolution.

Filipino legislators credited Han for the increase in trade and investment opportunities between the two countries. In 2019, South Korea became the Philippines’ 5th largest trading partner, 3rd highest import source, and 6th highest export destination. 

It was also under Han’s tenure when the South Korean government committed to grant the Philippines $1 billion worth of concessional loans from the Korean Economic Development Cooperation Fund to finance several infrastructure projects.

The Filipino lawmakers also said it was through Han’s efforts that the Philippines became a top destination for Koreans. 

They also lauded the envoy’s role in the turnover of South Korean naval vessels to the Philippines, and in the various humanitarian efforts of the South Korean government to aid Filipinos affected by calamities since 2018.

“The warm and gentle yet energetic personality of His Excellency masterfully reflects the characteristics of modern-day South Korea, a vibrant democracy with a dynamic economy, and a society that perfectly blends traditional values with contemporary pop culture,” read HR 1405. 

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The House leadership traditionally honors foreign ambassadors for their efforts to strengthen diplomatic relations between their respective home countries and the Philippines. 

Filipino legislators have previously given the Congressional Medal of Achievement to former Russian ambassador Igor Khovaev in October this year, and to former Chinese ambassador Zhao Jianhua in 2019.

Three years earlier, the House gave the Golden Mace Award to then United States ambassador Philip Goldberg.

The Senate bestowed similar honors on Han on Wednesday, December 9. Senator Richard Gordon sponsored the resolution honoring the diplomat. 

“I know of no ambassador in the country present today that has been aggressively pushing the health and compassion of many of our people who have become very, very vulnerable during all these typhoons,” said Gordon, recalling the assistance from South Korea that Han facilitated during calamities.

“In the many functions that we bumped into each other, he always wears a barong tagalog to show how close he is to the Filipino people,” said Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.