SoKor envoy asks Korean companies to 'invest, invest, invest' in PH

By Ben Cal

October 5, 2018, 10:53 am

MANILA – “Invest, invest, invest in the Philippines" -- this was the clarion call of South Korean Ambassador Han Dong-man as he urged South Korean companies to invest in the Philippines in response to President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” program which seeks to spur economic growth in the country.

Han made the pledge in a speech during the commemoration of the Korea National Foundation Day and the Armed Forces Day celebration held in Makati City on Tuesday.

Han said the trade volume between South Korea and the Philippines reached USD15 billion last year, and Korea remains the fourth largest trading partner of the Philippines.

“He said that whenever I meet Korean businessmen, I ask them to invest, invest, invest in the Philippines in accordance with President Duterte’s build, build, build slogan," he said. “With the Philippine’s robust and steady economic growth, I expect our trade and economic ties will be deeper and stronger."

Describing the bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries, Han said Korea and the Philippines "have enjoyed a very good relationship in many different sectors since establishing diplomatic ties in 1949.”

“During the Korean War, more than 7,000 Filipino soldiers, including former President Fidel V. Ramos, fought bravely together with Koreans. I believe today’s Korea would not be enjoying peace, democracy and economic prosperity without the great and noble sacrifice of the Korean War veterans. Some of these (Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea) PEFTOK veterans are with us tonight,” Han said.

Han also expressed his gratitude to the Philippine government "for supporting our journey to achieve peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula,” referring to the three rounds of inter-Korea summits and the US-North Korea summit which have paved the way for reconciliation, cooperation, and complete denuclearization of North Korea.

He said cultural relations between Korea and the Philippines remain vibrant.

“Culturally, the Korean Wave, including Koreanovela, K-pop, Korean cosmetics and food, are spreading across the country. For example, the Korean idol group Momoland’s Bboom Bboom and Baam marked number 1 and 2 in the weekly chart of the Philippines,” Han said.

He said it is "my job to galvanize these Korean cultural elements in Philippine society, citing that last year, 1.6 million Korean tourists visited this beautiful country.”

Han said presently, Koreans remain the number one country in terms of foreign tourists, while half a million Filipinos went to visit Korea.
However, the Korean envoy said he promised Duterte to bring up to two million Korean tourists the number of tourists who will visit the Philippine during his term as South Korean ambassador to the Philippines.

Next year, South Korea and the Philippines will celebration the 70th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations.

“When President Duterte visited Korea last June, he and President Moon agreed to celebrate next year as the year of mutual exchange. Against this backdrop, we are envisioning many cultural events and encouraging mutual visits to each other’s country," he said. “Korea and the Philippines are on the same boat to navigate a long journey for co-prosperity, based upon a solid partnership and friendship."

Among those who attended the affair were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, who represented President Duterte, Foreign Affairs Secretary Ernesto Abella, Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Senators Win Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Franklin Drilon, Presidential Legal Adviser Salvador Panelo, and Maj. Gen. Resty Padilla, Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans (J5) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), representing AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito Galvez, among others. (PNA)