Excerpts from: Huge Korean presence hardly benefits Pinoys
By Rene Q. Bas, www.manilatimes.net
I think the popularity of the Philippines to Koreans as the place to learn English in is just a carry over of the Korean War.
In the times when we were the best friend of the South Koreans, I had classmate who came to study in the Philippines. One of my best friends in college was Bong Oh Cha, who I have been trying to trace for decades without any luck.
Sen. Edgardo Angara, who spoke at Kookmin University in September 2006, said these words which are still completely true today:
“The political alliance between the Philippines and South Korea goes a long way back. In fact, the government in Manila was among the first to send troops to the Korean peninsula to defend the South against the invasion from the communist North during the Cold War era.
“Today, Korea is the most important source of tourists for the Philippines. In popular tourist places such as Boracay, Bohol, Cebu or Palawan, the Koreans have become regulars. And apart from short-stay tourists, the estimated number of South Koreans who choose to permanently live in our country now stands at 46,000.
Angara recalled that Koreans began migrating to the Philippines in the 1950s when Korean students came here in great numbers to study business, science, economics, political science and agriculture.
Angara also said that many Koreans actually come to the Philippines today in order to learn English either in universities or in one of the numerous private language schools. He noted that some of these language centers even cater exclusively to Korean students.
Koreans indeed have decided that the Philippines is best halfway house in their eventual progress to become students or residents in the United States.
The Philippines has received some Korean cultural influences. The most recent of these is the Philippine passion for Korean-made telenovelas shown on primetime TV.
Angara intimately knows about the Korean government’s support of the country’s development effort to educate illiterates through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
Angara said that KOICA has been instrumental in the efforts to put up a “Digital Village” in Aurora province where farmers can use the Internet to access information by computer. These pieces of information include the prices of goods, land records, weather forecasts, local government database and other agricultural knowledge support.
“Imagine if every province was connected to each other through a computer network where information could be downloaded in seconds. Think of the businesses to be spawned and the investments to come if such a system were in place,” Angara said.
“Since Korea is acknowledged globally as a leader in wide broadband and recognized as having the highest Internet penetration rate in the whole region, I envision that someday Filipinos, hand in hand with the Koreans, will be highly modernized in information technology. I believe the people of Korea have recognized the talent and skill of our workers—proof of this are the many Filipino workers in Korea. And similarly, the country is a host to the biggest overseas Korean population in the region,” the senator continues.
Korean newspapers report that Filipino workers there are among the best liked. Of the 36,000 Filipinos in Korea, half are undocumented.There are also stories of Koreans complaining about the Filipinos.