By: Ben Cal
MANILA. President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s visit to South Korea last month is paying off as more Korean companies will be investing in the Philippines, according to South Korean Ambassador Han Dong-Man.
“We are endeavoring to bring more Korean investors to the Philippines,” Han said in an exclusive interview with Han with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) at the Rapples Hotel in Makati City last Tuesday.
“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,” Han stressed.
“The Philippines has many potential to attract foreign direct investment, as demonstrated by the U.S. News Report, saying that the Philippines is the number one country to invest in, he added.
Han cited the good relationship between South Korea and the Philippines, pointing out that “today’s Korea would not be enjoying peace, democracy, and economic prosperity without the great and noble sacrifice of the Filipino Korean War veterans.”
He was referring to the 7,420 officers and men of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK) sent by the Philippines during the Korean War in 1950-55 to help the then beleaguered South Korea stave off the invasion by Chinese and North Korean forces.
Han said that when he met former President Fidel V. Ramos, a Korean War veteran, “I, on behalf of the Korean people and Government, expressed my deep gratitude to all the Korean War veterans as they deserve the title of a “hero”.
Ramos was then a 22-year old army second lieutenant and a fresh graduate of the U.S. West Point Academy, class of 1950, when he volunteered to go to South Korea for combat duty.
He was credited for leading his troops in the conquest of the strategic Eerie Hill during a fierce gun battle against a highly superior force of Chinese soldiers.
Incidentally, the close quarter combat was witnessed from afar by thousands of allied forces in the area, using binoculars since it was the only fighting that erupted on that historic and memorable day in the entire Korean Peninsula.
During the interview, Han said that to create many jobs in the Philippines, he and other embassy officials recommended to Korean companies to invest in the manufacturing sector.
Last year, Samsung Electro-Mechanics invested US$200 million in Cavite to manufacture components of semi-conductors, and this resulted in the employment of 6,000 new jobs, Han said.
“Another Korean company, SFA Semicon also invested US$100 million in Clark, Pampanga to build a second plant to produce semi-conductors, creating more than 1,500 jobs,” he pointed out.
Han said that “in the next ten years, I expect more (Korean) companies will invest in infrastructure areas such as power stations, roads and highways, and also railways.” (PNA)