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Aquino vows protection of 1M Koreans in PH

MANILA, Philippines – Amid reports of rising incidents of crimes against foreigners in the country, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III assured South Korean President Park Geun-hye that his government was looking after the safety of Korean nationals here.

In a note, Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said Aquino told Park that the Philippine government "places great importance on ensuring the safety and protection of all foreign nationals, including more than 1 million Korean nationals frequenting and residing in the Philippines."

In an appeal to the Philippine government, the Korean embassy issued a statement in 2014 expressing alarm over the rising incidence of crimes against their nationals. 

During a bilateral meeting at the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on Wednesday, November 18, Aquino also sought Park’s support for the passage of the amended Social Security Agreement between the two countries.

“President Aquino said he hoped South Korea will positively consider proposed amendments to the Social Security Agreement so that it may be finally concluded to enable our peoples to fully maximize its benefits,” Coloma added.

Park, for her part, vowed to improve the social security program involving citizens of both nations. 

After all, she said, more than 2,000 Korean-Filipino multicultural families are formed each year. The Korean government, she said, fully supports this as a gesture of the deepening of people-to-people ties.

Aquino also thanked the South Korean leader for her support in infrastructure and military modernization projects.

Among these are the Jalaur Multi Purpose Project in Iloilo, Laguindingan Airport air navigation system & support facilities, Samar Pacific coastal road project, and the Puerto Princesa airport development project.

Korea also donated several defense and disaster response equipment. Just this year, the Philippines bought FA-50 aircrafts from its East Asian neighbor, in a move widely seen to beef up its armed forces amid tensions in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Park, meanwhile, had nothing but praises for the economic growth under President Aquino. She said the Philippines had become the 4th largest ship-building country, which could be a good reference for expanded trade, investment, and economic cooperation between the two nations.

With this, Park advocated greater cooperation between the two countries in the fields of medicine, medical technology, tele-medicine, public health, transportation, and infrastructure development. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com

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