Lessons from Korea’s economic progress

Published June 10, 2018, 12:05 AM

by Francine Ciasico

 

Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD
Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

 

 

By Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD

 

Except for the “despicable kissing scene” where he asked a woman to kiss him on the lips, President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to South Korea was an appropriate gesture. The Philippines and South Korea have close ties which date back to the Second World War.

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A Korean spokesman reminisced something his countrymen can never forget: “The Philippines sent soldiers during World War II who fought side-by-side with our soldiers against the Communists. The Philippines helped Korea when we were in need.”

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For the Korean people, they believe in the dictum, “A friend in need is a friend in deed.” Consider, for instance, when Leyte and surrounding provinces were vastly devastated by super-typhoon “Yolanda,” the Korean government came to the aid of the typhoon victims.

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It was very touching to see groups of South Koreans mixing cement, putting up roofs, and making the finishing touches to various structures.

In addition, Korea reportedly poured in P1.5-billion cash donation. Some nosey people are asking: Did the huge amount really go into the rehabilitation projects and assistance to the typhoon victims or to the pockets of unscrupulous human vultures?

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In this connection, let me share excerpts of an essay written by Jaeyoun Kim entitled: “Love for Country,” which has a timely and relevant message for Filipinos on how to achieve economic prosperity like the Koreans did.

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‘WE ENVIED THE FILIPINOS’. “After the Korean War, South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world. Koreans had to start from scratch because the entire country was destroyed and we had no natural resources.

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“Koreans used to talk about the Philippines, for Filipinos were very rich in Asia. We envied the Filipinos.

“The Korean government was awfully corrupt and is still very corrupt beyond your imagination, but Korea was able to develop dramatically because they really did their best for the common good with their heart burning with patriotism.

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“Some 40 years ago, President Park took over the government to reform Korea. He tried to borrow money from other countries, but it was not possible to get a loan and attract a foreign investment because the economic situation of South Korea was so bad. Korea had only three factories.

“So, President Park sent many mine workers and nurses to Germany so that they could send money to Korea to build a factory.

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“In 1964, President Park visited Germany to borrow money. Hundreds of Koreans in Germany came to the airport to welcome him.

“President Park cried with them and always asked Koreans to love their country from their heart.

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“Many Korean scientists and engineers in the USA came back to Korea though they received very low salaries.

“The owners of factories and companies distributed their profits to their employees fairly.”

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Although one of the poorest countries in the world after World War II, the Koreans recovered dramatically. What did it were diligence, love, and patriotism.

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The Philippines is not exactly poor. The main problem lies in the inequitable distribution of the national wealth where the few rich own the biggest portion of the economic pie whereas the masses share the meager portion. The remaining part is apportioned to the narrow middle class.

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THE PHILIPPINES HAS ENOUGH RESOURCES FOR EVERYONE’S NEED BUT NOT ENOUGH FOR EVERYONE’S GREED.

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  1. JUDE. Every Thursday, join us in our novena to St. Jude Thaddeus, Saint of the Impossible, at the Divine Word Shrine, Christ the King Seminary, on E. Rodriguez Boulevard, Quezon City, after the 6 p.m. mass.

A healing pray-over and anointing of holy oil follow.

 
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